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Competition (biology) facts for kids

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Clone war of sea anemones 2-17-08-2
Two sea anemones compete for territory
Male-male competition in red deer during rut is an example of interference competition within a species

Competition within and between species is an important topic in biology, especially in the field of ecology. Competition among members of the same species is known as intraspecific competition, while competition between individuals of different species is known as interspecific competition. First, a limited amount of resources, such as food, water, and territory are available, and several species may depend on these resources.

Thus, species, and often individuals within a species, compete to gain these resources. As a result, several species less suited to compete for the resources may either adapt or die out. According to evolutionary theory, this competition within and between species for resources plays a critical role in natural selection.

Types of competition

By mechanism

The following terms describe mechanisms by which competition occurs, which can generally be divided into direct and indirect. These mechanisms apply equally to interspecific and interspecific competition.

  • Interference competition - occurs directly between individuals via aggression etc. when the individuals interfere with foraging, survival, reproduction of others, or by directly preventing their physical establishment in a portion of the habitat.
  • Exploitation competition - occurs indirectly through a common limiting resource which acts as an intermediate. For example the use of the resource(s) depletes the amount available to others, or they compete for space.
  • Apparent competition - occurs indirectly between two species which are both preyed upon by the same predator.

Related pages

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A lion and a spotted hyena in the Maasai Mara: The two species share similar ecological niches, and so compete with each other
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