A mathematical model supporting a hyperpredation effect in the apparent competition between invasive Eastern cottontail and native European hare.
In this work a mathematical model is built in order to validate on theoretical grounds field study results on a three-species system made of two prey, of which one is native and another one invasive, together with a native predator. Specifically, our results mathematically describe the negative effect on the native European hare after the introduction of the invasive Eastern cottontail, mediated by an increased predation rate by foxes. Two nonexclusive assumptions can be made: an increase in cottontail abundance would lead to a larger fox population, magnifying their predatory impact ("hyperpredation") on hares; alternatively, cottontails attract foxes in patches where they live, which are also important resting sites for hares and consequently the increased presence of foxes results in a higher predation rates on hares. The model results support hyperpredation of increasing fox populations on native hares.