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Interspecific competition: what it is, characteristics and examples

Living beings interact by interacting with each other. These interactions can be interpreted as behaviors of an individual directed to another individual, whose costs and benefits can be positive or negative. Depending on whether they occur between individuals of the same species or between individuals of different species, we speak of intraspecific or interspecific relationships respectively. Competition is a type of interaction that determines population dynamics and that constitutes a key factor for survival.

If you are curious to know what is competition in biology and what are interspecific relationships , you can consult this AgroCorrn article about what is interspecific competition, its characteristics and examples .

  1. What is interspecific competition
  2. Characteristics of interspecific competition
  3. Types of interspecific competition
  4. Examples of interspecific competition
  5. Consequences of interspecific competition
  6. Difference between intraspecific competition and interspecific competition

What is interspecific competition

In biology, competition is understood as the relationship that some living beings have with others to obtain the greatest amount of food , for their own benefit, when they share resources present in the same area.

The interspecific competition can be defined as the negative interaction between individuals of different species populations , caused by the exploitation of a resource or restricting access to it. The negative nature of the relationship means that at least one of the species is harmed.

Another type of negative interaction between species is interspecific predation . It occurs when individuals of one species ( predator ) feed on individuals of another species (prey), both remaining alive when the first attack occurs. Examples: polar bears (predator) and seals (prey) or eagles (predator) and fish (prey).

Characteristics of interspecific competition

Below are some of the main characteristics of competition between species or interspecific competition :

  • Competition is by exploitation or by interference.
  • It only takes place when the resource is limiting.
  • Competition for one resource can alter competition for other resources.
  • Consequently, mainly the coexistence or extinction of species takes place .
  • It is an asymmetric relationship, in which individuals in one population win and those in the other lose.

Types of interspecific competition

Competition between different species can take place in two ways, that is, two types of interaction or types of interspecific competition can be distinguished :

  • Competition for exploitation (indirect): in which one of the species exhausts the resource, negatively affecting the other species. It is similar to competition by fight.
  • Competition by interference (direct): implies that one of the species directly interferes in the access of another species to the resource. It is similar to tournament competition.

Examples of interspecific competition

Now we go on to mention examples of the competitive relationship between animals and plants :

  • Competition by interference is very common in plants. An example is allelopathy , which consists of the inhibitory effect that the metabolic products of some plant species have on the growth and development of other species, that is, it is a form of communication between plants and that it is a competition.
  • Two species of diatoms , Asterionella formosa and Synedra ulna compete for silica. This competition is for exploitation since, if they are in the same area, Synedra consumes silica until it is exhausted. This prevents Asterionella from making use of the resource and growing.
  • Vultures and jackals compete for carrion, which is competition by interference.
  • Other examples of animal competition for food are lions and hyenas, and also Iberian lynx and foxes.

Consequences of interspecific competition

Some effects of competition between species are: the decrease in survival, fertility and / or growth of one of the populations involved. This makes this type of interaction very important as it can influence:

According to the Lotka-Volterra model, competition for the resource generates the exclusion of one of the species or, in the least probable of cases, the coexistence of both species, which would take place when the intraspecific competition exceeds the interspecific.

Difference between intraspecific competition and interspecific competition

The main difference between both types of competition is that intraspecific competition occurs between individuals belonging to the same species, while interspecific competition takes place between individuals of different species.

It should also be noted that competition between different species, mainly, occurs due to the lack of resources (food or habitat); however, individuals of the same species compete mainly for resources, not because they are scarce, but because the population has increased.

Now that you have learned all this about competition between species, we recommend that you continue learning about the relationships between species and the functioning of ecosystems with these other AgroCorrn articles:

If you want to read more articles similar to Interspecific competition: what it is, characteristics and examples , we recommend that you enter our Biology category .

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