Predator - Prey Relationships
The relationship between predators and their prey is an intricate and complicated relationship; covering a great area of scientific knowledge. This paper will examine the different relationships between predator and prey; focusing on the symbiotic relations between organisms, the wide range of defense mechanisms that are utilized by various examples of prey, and the influence between predators and prey concerning evolution and population structure. Symbiosis is the interaction between organisms forming a long term relationship with each other. Many organisms become dependent on others and they need one another or one needs the other to survive. Symbiotic interactions include forms of parasitism, mutualism, and commensalism. The first topic of discussion in symbiosis is parasitism. Parasitism is when the relationship between two animal populations becomes intimate and the individuals of one population use the other population as a source of food and can be located in or on the host animal or animal of the other population(Boughey 1973). No known organism escapes being a victim of parasitism(Brum 1989). Parasitism is similar to preditation in the sense that the parasite derives nourishment from the host on which it feeds and the predator derives nourishment from the prey on which it feeds(Nitecki 1983). Parasitism is different from most normal predator prey situations because many different parasites can feed off of just one host but very few predators can feed on the same prey(1973). In parasite-host relationships most commonly the parasite is smaller than the host.
This would explain why many parasites can feed off of one single host. Another difference in parasite-host relationships is that normally the parasite or group of parasites do not kill the host from feeding, whereas a predator will kill it' s prey(1983). Efficient parasites will not kill their host at least until their own life cycle has been
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