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In food webs, the degree of intervality of consumers' diets is an indicator of the number of dimensions that are necessary to determine the niche of a species. Previous studies modeling food-web structure have shown that real networks are compatible with a high degree of diet contiguity. However, current models are also compatible with the opposite, namely that species' diets have relatively low contiguity. This is particularly true when one takes species' body size as a proxy for niche value, in which case the indeterminacy of diet contiguities provided by current models can be large. We propose a model that enables us to narrow down the range of possible values of diet contiguity. According to this model, we find that diet contiguity not only can be high, but must be high when species are ranked in ascending order of body size.
diet contiguity; ecological networks; food-webstructure; niche dimension; species size