Friday, December 30, 2011

Predator/Prey Ratio

A key term in population biology is predator to prey ratio, a measure of how much prey it takes to support a predator.  Usually:
predator/prey ratio = predator weight x number / prey weight x number
A low predator to prey ratio means big efficient predators.  A large ratio of predators to prey is found in cold-blooded predators like spiders.  An African lion in the savannah has a predator to prey ratio of about 1%.  A spider is more like 20% - 20 times more weight in spiders per weight of prey than the lion.  The spider is inefficient: it puts out a web and catches what it can.  If you've ever been in a wooded area when fog conditions were right, you might have noticed an astonishing number of webs, attesting to how many spiders there are per acre. (Large dinosaurs like T-Rex have a ratio much closer to the African Lion than the spiders - source)

Enter the government ruling class.  A group of predators (or parasites) likened to ticks by Barry Ferguson at Financial Sense.  Like all inefficient predators, the number of ticks feeding on your blood and my blood, is quite high.
Ticks are parasitic blood sucking arachnids. Their existence is dependent upon latching on to another animal with a blood circulation. We humans can be targets but our dog friends are especially vulnerable to attack. Ticks find a victim, burrow into the epidermis, suck until they are engorged, drop off, digest, and repeat. This is now the story of our existence as it pertains to our governments. We are the dog. They are the tick. There are more of them than us. Their goal is to bleed us dry. There is now an adversarial relationship between the governed and the governors.
As Thomas Jefferson once noted, ‘When the government is fearful of the people, you have liberty. When the people are fearful of the government, you have tyranny.’

And since I'm an incurable wise ass, a link to my favorite nature video of all time.

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