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Difference Between Predator and Prey

Predator vs Prey

Predator and prey are two of the most important components of any ecosystem. The energy flow takes place through prey and predator interactions. Predator always adapts to maximize its capabilities to kill the prey; on the other hand, prey always adapts and tries to be away from its predators as much as possible via various means. This article aims to discuss the major differences between these wonderful ecological niches.

Predator

Predator is an ecological niche that involves killing and feeding of an organism by another organism for feeding purposes. In common simple terms, predator refers to the animals that eat other animals’ flesh. In order to do so, predators have to develop extremely sensitive nerves viz. smell, vision, hearing, and electro reception (in aquatic predators) mainly. Agility and speed with excellent hunting strategies are vital to be a successful predator in the extremely competitive ecosystem for any animal. In the food chains, predators are always found towards the end. The energy produced by plants or green algae (primary producers) will go through each trophic level, but the amount of energy loses considerably (90%) as it passes through; predators receive the least amount of energy as they are at the top of food chains. Usually, the number of individuals in each trophic level of any ecosystem varies, and the number of predators is very small compared to all other levels. Predator’s main role in the ecosystem is to maintain the prey population, and they improve the bio diversity by preventing a single species becoming dominant. Predators are obviously carnivorous in most cases, while omnivorous predators are also there. Some of the most prominent carnivores are lions, tigers, crocodiles, sharks, eagles, and snakes.

Prey

A prey could be any animal that is being preyed upon by the predator.usually, prey is the submissive organism of the predator-prey interaction. Most of the time prey is herbivorous, but omnivorous prey species are also there in the ecosystem. In food chain, prey species are closer to producers than predators. Prey species have stored energy that is good enough to fulfil the energy requirements of predators. Usually, prey animal are little weak especially during their young ages, that has awaken the predators as they also like to eat young ones more. Prey species always have high populations compared to predators, but lower compared to producers. They have great environmental adaptations to win the battles against predators by having hiding, escaping, and fighting skills sometimes with chemical weapons. Prey is a necessary part of the ecosystem, especially to facilitate the flow of energy into predators, and if there were no preys, the predators would never have evolved on the Earth.

What is the difference between Predator and Prey?

· Predator is the dominant organism, while prey is the submissive organism of prey-predator interaction.

· Prey has always a larger population compared to predator.

· Prey species are more often herbivorous, while predators are always carnivores, but can be omnivorous sometimes.

· Prey is weaker than the predator usually.

· Predator completely depends on the prey for food. However, prey would not die in the absence of predators.

· Predators control the population of prey, otherwise the prey species will get overpopulated, and the balance of the ecosystem will lose.

· Predators are distant from the producers in the ecosystem, but prey is closer to autotrophs/producers.

· Because of the considerable loss of energy as it passes through trophic levels, predator gets only a little amount of calories compared to prey.


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