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What are intraspecific relationships and examples

In a biological community, living beings establish relationships with the environment in which they live and with the rest of the organisms that inhabit it, whether or not they are of the same species. Many individuals of the same species live in groups and therefore interact with each other. The cross-species comparative method suggests that group formation is due to two main pressures: predation and resource limitation. Thus, group life seems to be a response to security and defense of resources. These interactions are called intraspecific relationships and if you want to know more about them in AgroCorrn we explain what intraspecific relationships are with examples .

You may also be interested in: Interspecific relationships: types and examples
  1. What are intraspecific relationships
  2. Types of intraspecific relationships and examples
  3. Family associations
  4. Gregarious associations
  5. State associations
  6. Colonial associations

What are intraspecific relationships

The intraspecific relationships are those that appear between individuals of the same species , it may also be within a population or among different populations. Due to these relationships, individuals are organized into temporary or more lasting group associations, even throughout life, they are called temporary and perennial groupings respectively.

These relationships have a series of consequences in the lives of individuals. There are a number of pros and cons, but the fact that such associations exist means that the pros are very beneficial. The pros, or benefits of intraspecific relationships include:

  • Greater ability to defend against predators or adverse environmental conditions.
  • Greater ease in finding a mate and reproducing.
  • A greater ability to search and find food.
  • Greater ability to divide work.

Likewise, it also has some cons , especially the competition for resources (water, nutrients, light, shade, etc.) and the territory when there are too many individuals in the group.

In most associations there are “friction of coexistence”, either due to resources, the couple or the territory, and they are usually resolved agonistically, that is, through fights. In some associations complex social relationships are established where there is a social hierarchy (dominant and subordinate) and individual recognition.

Types of intraspecific relationships and examples

Broadly speaking, we differentiate two types of intraspecific relationships , competition and cooperation:

  • The competition occurs when no resources (food, territory) enough for everyone to reproduce or being the dominant or mark social status. The result is usually a conflict that ends with the expulsion of the group, the submission or even the death of the individuals who fight.
  • However, in cooperative relationships, individuals group together to increase their survival rate. Depending on the relationships established by individuals, we distinguish family, gregarious, state and colonial associations.

Family associations

In them the individuals are related. They originate with the formation of one or more couples that have offspring when they procreate. Maintaining the family association is related to mating, feeding, defending, and caring for the young. Within these associations several types of family associations are distinguished :

  • Parental monogamous : Made up of a couple and their offspring. It occurs especially in birds such as the griffon vulture in which the union of the couple usually lasts for almost a lifetime and they take care of the chick together.
  • Polygamous parental : It can be polygynous or polyandric. It is a polygynous parent if it is made up of a male with many females and their children. As in the case of deer, where a single male has a harem of several females and these take care of the fawns. It is polyandrous parental if the female mates with several males such as the jacana. The female of this species leaves the eggs in nests that the males build, which are also in charge of raising the chickens.
  • Matriarchal : It is only made up of the mother and her offspring. This is the case of elephants, in which the herd is only made up of females; grandmothers, mothers, daughters, sisters, etc., and in addition there is usually a matriarch or alpha female. Only males, who are solitary nomads, are allowed to approach to reproduce.
  • Patriarchal : It is only made up of the father and his children. This would be the case of seahorses or seahorses, in which the males carry the eggs inside them until they hatch and go out to the outside world through childbirth.
  • Subsidiary : Only integrated by the offspring. It occurs in fish and some amphibians. The parents lay many eggs and abandon them, when all the siblings hatch they form the family association

In the event that within an association the children continue to reproduce and more family ties are created, the term clan is used to refer to these family associations.

Gregarious associations

Unlike the previous ones, in this type of group there are no parental or family ties . They are usually temporary. They are produced by the accumulation of individuals in a certain place previously transported by the wind or by water (insect larvae or cyanobacteria), or by their own will, either following a stimulus such as light or food, or to fight for survival, defend against predators and search for food as in the case of schools of fish, flocks of birds or herds of mammals.

In the case of the goldfinch, these associations occur during times of abundance of resources. Watching and eating at the same time is a difficult task, so the individual is more exposed to predation, but when associating with other individuals, the vigilance rate increases and correlatively increases the rate of food ingestion. When resources are scarce the side dissolves due to internal fights over food.

State associations

They are given in response to the division of labor in the population. The individuals that make it up present morphological differences, revealing the different functions they perform. These associations are typical in well-known social insects such as termites, bees or ants. Individuals cannot survive outside the society they have created.

For example, in a bee hive there may be up to 50,000 individuals descended from the queen bee, the one in charge of laying the eggs. In the hives there are other individuals such as drones, which are the males that fertilize the queen, and finally we find the workers, females that do not reproduce and whose mission is to care for the panels and eggs, pollination, honey production and feeding the drones and the queen.

Colonial associations

Colonies are made up of individuals or zooids that are physically attached to each other and connected by a series of channels, appearing to be a single individual. Colonies originate when individuals exhibit asexual reproduction , usually by budding, bipartition, or fragmentation. Several types of colonies are distinguished.

  • Homomorphic colonies : all individuals or zooids are the same. This is the case of madrepores, a type of coral capable of forming biogeological structures such as reefs and atolls and even islands.
  • Heteromorphic colonies : zooids have different physical forms. The existence of different forms is due to a specialization of the colony resulting from the need for division of labor. Siphonophore colonies are an example of heteromorphic colonies. These animals belonging to the group of cnidarians present reproduction, feeding and defense zooids, among others.

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Maria Anderson

Hello, I am a blogger specialized in environmental, health and scientific dissemination issues in general. The best way to define myself as a blogger is by reading my texts, so I encourage you to do so. Above all, if you are interested in staying up to date and reflecting on these issues, both on a practical and informative level.

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