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Intraspecific Competition: Example & Definition

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  • 0:01 Intraspecific Competition
  • 0:51 Examples
  • 1:45 Lesson Summary
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Instructor: Sarah Friedl

Sarah has two Master's, one in Zoology and one in GIS, a Bachelor's in Biology, and has taught college level Physical Science and Biology.

How do members of the same species share resources? There's an ongoing struggle among individuals of the same species called intraspecific competition, and this competition is one way that nature controls how large a population gets.

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.

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.

Other territory signaling may be in the form of marking. Many wild canine and feline species mark their territories with scent. This tells other members of the same species in that area that they have claimed the territory and all of the resources within it.

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