Section 1

Species Interactions

• Ecologists recognize five major kinds of species interactions in communities: predation, parasitism, competition, mutualism, and commensalism.

• Predation is an interaction in which one organism (the predator) captures and eats another organism (the prey).

• Predators have adaptations to efficiently capture prey, whereas prey species have adaptations to avoid capture. Mimicry is an adaptation in which a species gains an advantage by resembling another species or object.

• Competition may cause competitive exclusion, the elimination of one species in a community. Competition may also drive the evolution of niche differences among competitors.

• In parasitism, one species (the parasite) feeds on, but does not always kill, another species (the host).

• In mutualism, both interacting species benefit.

• In commensalism, one species benefits, and the other is not affected.

Vocabulary predation (p. 399)

interspecific competition

(p. 401)

symbiosis (p. 403) parasitism (p. 403)

mutualism (p.403) commensalism (p. 403)

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