The living beings they are related in different ways. The structure of every ecosystem depends on the relationships that organisms establish with each other.
These relationships, called biological interactions, can be of different types:
- Parasitism. If one organism obtains its food from another and harms it by doing so, it is its parasite.
- Commensalism. If an organism A obtains some benefit (service or resource) from another organism B, while organism B neither benefits nor harms itself, organism A is a commensal.
- Mutualism. Both agencies benefit from the relationship.
- Competence. Two living things can require the same resources for their growth. For example, two trees that are located close together may need to use nutrients from the soil, moisture, and sunlight. In these cases, they become competitors and hurt each other.
- Cooperation. Both species benefit from the relationship, but their existence does not depend on that relationship, as occurs in cases of mutualism.
Predators and prey
In addition to these types of relationships, there is the biological interaction predation, which occurs when one species feeds on another species. The animal that feeds is called predator, while the one who is hunted is called dam. For example: the anteater feeds on termites Y ants.
When observing this relationship, we could consider that only the predator benefits. However, predation is critical to survival of the species that works as prey and for its strengthening, since the predators eliminate the weakest individuals of the group. In addition, by controlling the number of individuals in the predated group, it prevents an overpopulation.
While ecosystems and biomes They usually maintain balance thanks to all these biological interactions, including predation, in the case of humans, their predation has reached the extreme of even eliminating species (extinction).
Examples of predation
- The Polar Bear it is one of the largest terrestrial carnivorous mammals that exist. It lives in the frozen areas of the northern hemisphere. It is a predator mainly of the young of seals and of reindeer. It not only takes the nutrients from its prey, but also the necessary liquid for its survival. The polar bear cannot drink water because the one in its environment is salty and acidic.
- The anteater (also called flag bear) is a mammal that feeds on termites and to a lesser extent ants. For this, it has powerful claws that allow it to break the termite mounds. It also has a long tongue that allows it to invade the termite mound.
- The dolphins they are predators of fish such as herring, sardines and cod. They hunt in groups, in such a way that they can surround a school of their prey. In their jaw they have sharp teeth that are ideal for chewing and tearing prey, allowing the dolphin to swallow it in one bite.
- The penguins They are prey for various species, mainly in the water. The leopard seal it is one of their predators, which can catch them because of their speed in the water. Penguins become their prey mainly in winter, when other food sources become scarce not only for seals but also for whales and sharks. The orcas share an ecosystem with the penguins during the migration season, when they approach the coast where the penguins usually live.
- The Lion it is a carnivorous mammal that lives in various regions of Africa and India. It is a predator mainly of large mammals: wildebeest, impalas, zebras, buffalo, nilgos, wild boar and deer. They hunt in groups, mainly females.
- The foxes they are predators of various rodents, like rabbits and squirrels, and small birds. The pads that they have on the lower part of the legs allow them to move on any terrain, facilitating the pursuit of prey. They have exceptional hearing and the ability to see in the dark, allowing them to find their prey.
- The Royal Owl It is a bird of prey that lives in Europe, Asia and Africa. Birds of prey are those that have a robust and bent beak and very sharp claws on their legs to hunt their prey. In other words, raptors are specially adapted to be predators. The eagle owl is a predator of rabbits, hares, squirrels, rats, pigeons, blackbirds and hedgehogs. It can even hunt small fawns weighing up to ten kilograms.
- The spiders they are particular predators since they prepare a trap for their prey: the net that captures insects, like flies and mosquitoes. When the prey is trapped, the spiders inject them with paralyzing venom. Once the prey is paralyzed, digestive juices are injected, that is, external digestion occurs.
- The coral snake is a predator of reptiles, frogs and snakes, even snakes of their own kind. To paralyze its victims, it injects a neurotoxic agent, making it difficult for the brain to communicate with the muscles, and even impede cardiac and respiratory functions.
- The Tiger It is an Asian feline, predator of a wide variety of animals, from small mammals such as monkeys and hares, birds such as peacocks and fish. However, it also hunts deer, wild boar, and deer. It is also capable of hunting other predators such as wolves, hyenas, and crocodiles.
- The White shark It is a predator of large marine mammals, such as the sea lions. His way of hunting is ambush. The shark can camouflage itself with the bottom of the sea if it is seen from above, due to the color of its back. Therefore, once a prey is chosen that swims near the surface, the shark is located below it and can stalk it without being detected.
- The frogs are prey to other species, such as snakes. However, they are also predators of invertebrates such as flies and mosquitoes (Diptera), cockroaches and beetles (Coleoptera), ant wasps and bees (Hinmenoptera), even butterflies.
- The jellyfish They are carnivorous marine animals, predators of various animals, since they are capable of feeding on everything they have available in their environment, even animals of the same size. They mainly feed on fish and crustaceans. Its way of hunting is to catch prey with its tentacles, which are covered in a sticky substance, and take them to its mouth.
- The otters they are great predators since they can eat between 15 and 25% of their body weight per day. Its main prey is the fish, but they also eat birds, frogs and crabs.
- The panthers They are skilled hunters thanks to their great acceleration capacity when running, which allows them to make surprise attacks on various types of animals. Their prey are gazelles, nyalas, kudus, impalas, zebras and wildebeest, among others. However, they avoid large animals.
- The chameleons They are predatory reptiles of worms, grasshoppers, locusts, flies and other insects. They manage to hunt them thanks to their great visual acuity, which allows them to detect even the smallest movements.
- The Golden Eagle it is, like the owl, a bird of prey. It is very agile and can fly at a speed of up to 300 kilometers per hour. In addition to these abilities, it has precise vision, which allows it to detect its prey from above. Their prey are: rabbits, mice, hares, snakes, foxes, baby goats, fish and other small animals.
- The vaquita marina it is a cetacean, that is, a mammal adapted to aquatic life, such as dolphins. It is a predator of other marine animals such as fish (trout, croaker, anchovies, sardines), squid, crustaceans and others.
- The ostrich It is a bird that does not fly. While it can feed on plants, it also feeds on animals (omnivore). It is a predator of small insects.
- The sea stars the vast majority are carnivorous. They are predators of mollusks, such as clams, mussels, oysters, and snails, as well as some small fish and worms. In order to feed on animals that are protected by shells, such as clams, they must make a constant force with their tube feet.