Ives, Anthony R. Department of Zoology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin.
Last reviewed:February 2020
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- Population dynamics
- Predation and community structure
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The interrelationships between two animals (most often of unlike species) whereby one acts as a predator that ensnares and eats the other (the prey). Predation occurs when one animal (the predator) kills and then eats another living animal (the prey) [Fig. 1] to utilize the energy and nutrients from the body of the prey for growth, maintenance, or reproduction. In the special case in which both predator and prey are from the same species, predation is called cannibalism. Sometimes, the prey is actually consumed by the predator's offspring. This is particularly prevalent in the insect world; for example, a wasp may paralyze and lay eggs on a butterfly caterpillar, leaving its offspring to consume the prey. Insect predators that follow this type of lifestyle are called parasitoids because the offspring grow parasitically on the prey provided by their mother. See also: Animal; Ecological communities; Ecology; Parasitology; Zoology
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