- The organism that kills the dead organism and feeds on it is called the predator, while the killed organism is called the Predation.
- Hunting is different from catching dead organisms, but predators also start as part of their feeding behavior.
- Predators can hunt either as solitary predators or as group predators, in which a group of species collectively search for Predation.
- The interaction is positive for the predator as it gains energy for survival and reproduction while it is harmful to the Predation.
- The most common form of hunting is observed between two species from two different trophic levels of the food chain, but there are exceptions.
- Although hunting is often associated with carnivorous animals, some plants and insects engage in predatory activities.
- Predation is an essential interaction as it plays an important role in maintaining population size in different communities, which also promotes biodiversity.
- Predators are highly specialized creatures that require keen senses to capture their prey. These animals actively seek or hunt prey for a long time. Once spotted, they judge whether to attack the prey before finding a good time to kill it.
- Lone predators like tigers chase and attack prey alone, while a herd of wolves can attack prey as a group and share resources.
- The prey also develops various anti-predator adaptations such as camouflage, mimicry, and alarm calls to protect itself from predators.
- In a complex environment where multiple predators feed on the same prey, competition can arise between these predators.
Types of Predation
Predation is classified into different types based on the prey and the relationship between predator and Predation.
Carnivores are the most common type of hunting in which the predator kills the prey and eats its meat.
Predators in carnivores are often larger animals like tiaras, sharks, and wolves that eat smaller animals like rabbits and deer.
Carnivores are common in higher animals, and predators or carnivores come in different sizes and feed on different groups of smaller animals.
These types of predators can be further classified based on their eating habits. Tied carnivores are animals that only feed on animal meat for their survival. Alternative carnivores are animals that can eat meat but do not need meat to survive.
Example – wolves
- Wolves are carnivorous animals that hunt and eat large herbivores such as deer, elk, and sheep. They also eat small animals such as rodents, rabbits, and beavers.
- They usually hunt in packs, and the hunt is made easier by various adaptations such as strong jaws, enlarged sensory organs, and strong bodies.
- The wolf herd consists of female wolves who care for and protect the pups and male wolves who are involved in the food and feed supply.
- Wolves communicate with each other through facial expressions and scent markings. The territory of a wolf pack depends on the availability of prey and protection from neighboring packs.
- Herbivores are a type of predator in which the predators feed on autotrophic organisms such as plants and algae.
- Herbivores are generally not considered prey, as predatory interactions are often associated with carnivorous animals.
- Like all other species of predator, the predator-herbivore interaction develops different forms of adaptation to the prey.
- Many herbivores have adaptations that allow them to determine which plants have higher quality nutrients and less defensive properties.
- Although prey is known to harm prey, some plants can benefit from the interaction. Herbivorous plants eat the fruit and this causes the seeds to spread to new areas.
Example – giraffe
- The giraffe is a herbivorous animal that feeds on the leaves of various plants and grasses. Acacia trees are one of the most common sources of food for giraffes.
- Giraffes have adaptive strategies like long necks that allow them to reach the leaves and fruits of trees.
- They are known to eat hundreds of pounds of leaves in a week. Since they mainly feed on leaves and buds, the grass content in their diet is quite low.
- Prey plants like acacia also develop defense mechanisms such as the release of toxins in their leaves and ethylene gas, which signals the surrounding trees to produce toxins.
- Parasitism is also a form of hunting in which the parasite ingests nutrients from the host, resulting in loss of host fitness and even death.
- In extreme cases, parasites produce various forms of the disease, the parasites are then referred to as pathogens.
- Although parasites do not usually kill their hosts, a separate group of parasites called parasites have been known to feed on hosts and ultimately lead to death.
- The parasitic organism is in most cases much smaller than the host, which differs from the predator in size and prey.
Example – tapeworm
- The tapeworm is one of the most common parasites in humans and cattle that is found in the digestive tract of hosts.
- The organism enters the intestine via contaminated food and drinks, where it attaches to the intestinal wall.
- The head of the organism attached to it contains various structures such as hooks and suction cups that enable the organism to absorb nutrients from the digestive walls.
- Parasite interactions can lead to food starvation and other digestive disorders in the host.
- A tapeworm does not usually kill the host, but it can live in the host for up to 30 years, causing persistent parasitism.
- Mutualism is a type of interaction between two species in which both types benefit from the interaction.
- One of the types provides a resource or service to the other, and the other also interacts with the utility.
- Mutualism does not result in the death of either species, as both species benefit from it.
- Mutualism, unlike other predatory interactions, requires that the species involved have similar functional and ecological characteristics.
Example- Gut microorganism in humans
- There are a group of beneficial microorganisms in various parts of the human body that exist in mutual interaction with the host.
- The intestinal microflora is one of the best-known and largest human microflora. These microorganisms settle in all parts of the digestive system.
- Microorganisms produce various digestive enzymes that help digest food in humans. In addition, they also protect the host from pathogenic microorganisms.
- In return, the host provides them with nutrients and living space. Interpersonal relationships can last for years.
- Cannibalism is also a type of predatory interaction in which one organism of one species feeds on other organisms of the same species.
- It is a common ecological interaction in animals and has been observed in around 1500 different species.
- Cannibalism is common in nutrient-poor environments that species feed on each other.
- Cannibalism is an important phenomenon that helps conserve species populations so that food and other resources are more readily available to competing populations.
- Cannibalism is particularly prevalent in aquatic ecosystems, with around 90% of organisms involved in cannibalistic activities.
Example- black widow spider
A form of cannibalism has been observed in spiders, in which the female spider feeds on the male spider after mating.
It’s a form of sexual cannibalism that is mostly optional as it only occurs in extreme circumstances.
There are several theories about this interaction, but the most widely accepted state is that the female spider kills the male spider to provide energy and food for the offspring.
Predation Definition, Types of Predation, Example
Predation Definition, Types of Predation, Example