Schley, David and Bees, Martin A.
A discrete slug population model determined by egg production.
Journal of Biological Systems, 10, (3), . (doi:10.1142/S0218339002000585).
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Slugs are significant pests in agriculture (as well as a nuisance to gardeners), and it is therefore important to understand their population dynamics for the construction of efficient and effective control measures. Differential equation models of slug populations require the inclusion of large (variable) temporal delays, and strong seasonal forcing results in a non-autonomous system. This renders such models open to only a limited amount of rigorous analysis. In this paper, we derive a novel batch model based purely upon the quantity of eggs produced at different times of the year. This model is open to considerable reduction; from the resulting two variable discrete-time system it is possible to reconstruct the dynamics of the full population across the year and give conditions for extinction or global stability and persistence. Furthermore, the steady state temporal population distribution displays qualitatively different behavior with only small changes in the survival probability of slugs. The model demonstrates how small variations in the favorability of different years may result in widely different slug population fluctuations between consecutive years, and is in good agreement with field data.
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