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Intraspecific competition: what it is, characteristics and examples

Relationships between individuals of the same species can be positive or negative. Competition is a negative interaction, in which at least one of the competitors is harmed. Therefore, when individuals compete for food, territory, reproduction, or social dominance, population growth can be affected.

Consult this AgroCorrn article if you want to learn what intraspecific competition is, characteristics and examples , because here you will find a summary of what intraspecific competition is, its most important characteristics, what types there are, some examples of intraspecific competition and what are its consequences, enter more details.

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

What is intraspecific competition

The intraspecific competition can be defined as the interaction that occurs between individuals of the same species , the common need for a limited resource , essentially, and leading to a reduction in the survival of somatic growth and / or reproduction individuals competing, and the size of communities and populations can be regulated until stability (determined by carrying capacity).

Unlike competition, in the same species, there are also other types of positive, intraspecific relationships , based on cooperation or association, such as family associations. We recommend this other article to learn more about what are intraspecific relationships and examples , both positive and negative.

Characteristics of intraspecific competition

Below are some of the main characteristics of intraspecific competition :

  • The contribution of individuals to the next generation decreases, that is, population growth , due to a decrease in their fertility and survival.
  • Occurs only if the resource is limiting.
  • Competition is by exploitation or by interference.
  • Although there is reciprocity (since both competitors are affected), competition is usually asymmetric, since not all individuals respond the same to competition, they do not have the same physiological conditions
  • It depends on the density (dense-dependent process). The greater the number of individuals, the greater the competition and the growth of the population slows down.
  • The main reason for this type of competition is an increase in population. In fact, competition does not take place until a certain density threshold is reached. This makes resources limited. Since individuals of the same species are involved, competition is much more intense than when it occurs between individuals of different species.
  • However, competition can occur, in addition to resources, for reproduction and social dominance.
  • Competition can favor and increase the effectiveness of strong competitors, with respect to their weight in future generations.

Types of intraspecific competition

Considering the type of relationship that takes place, whether it is direct or not, two types of competition can be established within the same species :

  • Intraspecific competition for exploitation: this type of interaction, not direct, arises when an individual consumes the resource available and necessary for another individual.
  • Intraspecific competition by interference: in this case, the individuals fight, directly interfering with the access to food or territory of the other.

Examples of intraspecific competition

Territorialism is one of the best examples of intraspecific competition by interference, which consists of an area or territory being defended by some individuals against others (rivals). Here are some examples of animal competition :

  • Hummingbirds are very territorial, they defend the flowers present in their territory, as they depend on the nectar they contain.
  • Beta fish ( Betta slpendens ) aggressively defend the territory in which their nests are located, protecting it from other males.
  • Trout populations are subject to intraspecific competition relationships. When the density is very high, the mortality rate increases to compensate for this increase and populations stabilize.
  • Another example of this type of competition is the dune plant ( Vulpia fasciculata ). This species, when there are low densities, shows a constant fertility (in terms of seeds). However, as density increases, its population size decreases. It is conceivable that fewer plants in an area will produce more seeds than a greater number of plants, with hardly any space between them.

Consequences of intraspecific competition

These are some of the main consequences or effects of intraspecific competition or within the same species:

  • Intraspecific competition can affect individual growth and development. In fact, when the population density is low, individuals are larger and develop more rapidly.
  • It also reduces birth and fertility rates. Helping to regulate, therefore, the population size and the total biomass of the population.
  • Another possible consequence is that there is a greater exposure of prey to predators or a greater susceptibility to contracting diseases.

Difference between interspecific competition and intraspecific competition

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

In addition, the main reason that drives competition is different depending on whether it is intraspecific or interspecific. Individuals of the same species compete in response to an increase in their population, unlike individuals of different species, who compete for lack of resources (food and habitat).

To go into more details, we recommend you read this other AgroCorrn article about Interspecific Competition: what it is, characteristics and examples .

Now that you know all this about the competition between individuals of the same species , we advise you to continue learning about the relationships of living beings and about how ecosystems work by reading these other AgroCorrn posts:

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

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