The key difference between interspecific and intraspecific competition is that the interspecific competition is the competition that occurs between two or more species of organisms whereas the intraspecific competition is the competition that occurs between organisms of the same species.
Competition is the struggle made by organisms for their survival. Therefore, competition between organisms whether it’s inter or intraspecies takes place in different aspects. Organisms compete for food, shelter, partners and habitat. Thus, the best survivor will sustain whereas the environment will evade the losers. This concept is known as the survival of the fittest in Darwin’s theory of evolution.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Interspecific Competition
3. What is Intraspecific Competition
4. Similarities Between Interspecific and Intraspecific Competition
5. Side by Side Comparison – Interspecific vs Intraspecific Competition in Tabular Form
What is Interspecific Competition?
Interspecific competition is the competition for food, habitat and other needs between two or more species of organisms. Thus, many species involved in interspecific competition. This type of competition is known as direct competition. That is, the two species fight directly to fulfil their requirements over the other species. In direct competition, one species aims in the destruction of the other species by direct killing or attack. Thus, some plants secrete harmful chemicals, which could kill the growth of other species of plants.
The second aspect of interspecific competition is the indirect method that involves exploitation. In this regard, one species will exploit and destroy all the available resources, so that it will not be available for the other species. In this manner, the resources are eliminated which indirectly causes the removal of one particular species over the other species.
What is Intraspecific Competition?
A species is a group of organisms with similar characteristics which are able to reproduce to produce offspring of the same species. Thus, intraspecific competition is the phenomenon where organisms of the same species compete with each other for their needs. Intraspecific competition can take place directly or indirectly. In direct intraspecific competition, the organisms involved in the direct destruction of the second organism of the same species. In indirect competition, resource exploitation occurs so that they are unavailable for another organism of the same species.
The main reason for intraspecific competition is overpopulation. Thus, an increase of population density will lead towards intraspecific competition for resources like food and habitat. Intraspecific competition is most visible during the mating process of organisms. The mating process which requires the attraction of the female is subjected to high intraspecific competition in nature.
What are the Similarities Between Interspecific and Intraspecific Competition?
- In both phenomena, organisms compete for food, habitat and other basic resources.
- Both can take place in the direct method, where the direct destruction of the other organism takes place.
- Both can take place in the indirect method, which is the exploitation of resources.
- They are natural phenomena.
- Both will result in the survival of one organism.
What is the Difference Between Interspecific and Intraspecific Competition?
Competition among organisms is a natural process, and it will lead to natural selection. Thus, interspecific and intraspecific competition are the two most common phenomena. Interspecific competition occurs between two or more species. On the contrary, intraspecific competition occurs between organisms of the same species. This is the key difference between interspecific and intraspecific competition.
More on the difference between interspecific and intraspecific competition is below,
Summary – Interspecific vs Intraspecific Competition
Interspecific competition and intraspecific competition are two natural phenomena observed in organisms at all organizational levels. Interspecific competition is the competition between two or more species. In contrast, intraspecific competition takes place only between organisms of the same species. Hence, this competition can be direct or indirect. Either way, one organism benefits and will have the ability to survive in nature. As a result, competition may lead to the extinction of species if it takes place in an uncontrolled fashion. This is the difference between interspecific and intraspecific competition.
1.Hansen, Thomas F., et al. “Interspecific and Intraspecific Competition as Causes of Direct and Delayed Density Dependence in a Fluctuating Vole Population.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2 Feb. 1999. Available here