Intraspecific Competition: Example & Definition

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Elizabeth Friedl

Elizabeth, a Licensed Massage Therapist, has a Master's in Zoology from North Carolina State, one in GIS from Florida State University, and a Bachelor's in Biology from Eastern Michigan University. She has taught college level Physical Science and Biology.

Due to limited resources, organisms within the same species may compete for food, water, sunlight, shelter, or mates, in a process known as intraspecific competition. Learn from examples of intraspecific competition and also how populations are affected by the reduced availability of resources. Updated: 09/08/2021

What Is Intraspecific Competition?

Imagine two oak trees growing next to each other. While it may not seem like it, these two trees are in a constant competition. They both need sunlight, water, and nutrients, and because they are growing so near to each other, they have to fight over those same resources for survival. This competition between members of the same species is called intraspecific competition. This is different from interspecific competition, which is the competition for resources between individuals of different species.

In intraspecific competition, members of the same species may compete for food, shelter, water, and mates. This competition provides a type of control on the population size. If the population grows but the amount of resources stays the same, the resources become limiting. This means that the population can no longer increase in size.

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  • 0:01 Intraspecific Competition
  • 0:51 Examples
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Examples of Intraspecific Competition

Intraspecific competition can be silent, as with the trees mentioned above, or it can be observed in a variety of ways. Bird songs sound very pretty to us, but they are often signals to other birds that they are not welcome in that area. Bird songs are often used to defend territories that contain breeding areas, shelter, and food.

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