Show Menu

Competition btwn. Animals+Plants Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by

p264-p267 in the textbook

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.

Within Animals

Comp. For Food
Comp. for Territory
Comp. for a mate
What makes a Successful Compet­itor?
Many dif. species of herbivores will all eat the same plants. The animals that eat a wide range of plants are most likely to be succes­sful. Being a picky eater may result in extinction if anything happens to your food source.
For many animals, setting up and defending a territory is vital.
Compet­ition for mates can be fierce. In many species, the male animals put a lot of effort into impressing the females. The males compete in dif. ways to win the privilege of mating with a female.
A successful competitor is an animal that is adapted to be better at finding food or a mate than the other members of its own species.
Comp. is also common among carniv­ores. They compete for pray and small mammals such as mice are eaten by animals such as foxes, owls, hawks and more. The animal best adapted to finding and catching mice will be the most succes­sful. Carnivores have to compete with their own species as well as others. Some successful predators have long legs or running fast and sharp eyes to spot pray. These features would be passed on to their offspring.
A territory may simply be a place to build a nest or a space used to find food and reproduce. Most animals can't reproduce w/o territory, so they'll compete for the best spaces.
In some species - such as lions and deer - the males fight between themse­lves. The winner then gets to mate w/ several females.
It also needs to be better at finding food than the members of local species and be able to breed succes­sfully.
Prey animals also compete w/ each other to be the one that ISN'T caught and their adapta­tions help prevent them from being hunted. Some animals contain poisons that makes the predators that eat them sick. In most cases, these animals have warning colours so that predators learn which animals to avoid.
This helps make sure they'll be able to find enough food for themselves and their young. E.g for many small birds, the number of territ­ories found in an area varies w/ the amount of food available.
Many male animals display themselves to females to get their attention. Some birds have specta­cular adapta­tions to help them stand out.
Many animals are successful bc. they avoid compet­ition w/ other species as much as possible. They feed in a way that no other local animals do, or they eat a food that other animals avoid.
The introd­uction to a new herbivore can greatly reduce the amount of plant material available for others. E.g rabbits entering Australia = extinction of common species that couldn't compete when it came to grass eating and breeding.
Many animals use urine or faeces to mark the boundaries of their territ­ories.
Male peacocks display extrav­agant tail feathers to warn off other males and attract females. Male lizards often display bright colours too.
E.g, many dif. animals feed on one plant w/o direct compet­ition. While caterp­illars eat the leaves. greenfly drink the sap, butter­flies suck the nectar and beetles feed on the pollen.
The best adapted organisms are most likely to win the compet­ition for resources (for things like food, territory and mates), so they'll be most likely to survive and reproduce. Between different species, there's compet­ition for the same resources but compet­ition between members of the same species is the most intense.


- Animals compete with each other for food, territ­ories and mates.
- Animals have adapta­tions that make them successful compet­itors.
- Plants often compete with each other for light, space, water, mineral ions from soil.
- Plants have many adapta­tions that make them good compet­itors.

Within Plants

Plants compete for:
Why do plants compete?
Coping w/ compet­ition
Spreading the seeds
- light for photos­ynt­hesis, for food
Big, tall plants such as trees take up a lot of water + nutrients from the soil. They also lower the amount of light reaching the plants beneath them. The plants around them need adapta­tions to help them survive.
Plants that grow close to others often have adapta­tions to help them avoid compet­ition. Small plants in woodlands often bloom very early in the year, when plenty of light gets through the bare branches of the trees.
To reproduce succes­sfully, a plant has to avoid compet­ition with its own seedlings for light, space, water and mineral ions.
- water for photos­ynt­hesis + for keeping tissues rigid and supported
When a plant sheds its seeds, they may land nearby. In this case, the parent plant will be in direct comp. w/ its own seedlings.
The dormant trees take very little water out of the soil. The leaves that shed the previous autumn have rotted down to provide mineral ions in the soil. Plants such as bluebells flower, make seeds and die again before the trees are in full leaf.
Many plants use the wind to help them spread their seeds as far as possible.
- nutrients (minerals) from the soil, to make all the chemicals they need in their cells
As the parent plant is large + settled, it'll take most of the water, mineral ions and light. So the plat will deprive its own offspring of everything they need to grow succes­sfully.
Another way is by having dif. roots. Some plants have shallow roots taking water + nutrients from near the surface of the soil, while other plants have long, deep roots that go far underg­round.
They produce fruits or seeds with special adapta­tions for flight to carry their seeds away.
- space to grow, allowing their roots to take in water + nutrients + their leaves to capture light
The roots of some desert plants even produce a chemical that stops seeds from germin­ating, killing the compet­ition before it even grows.
If one plant is growing in the shade of another, it may grow taller to reach the light + may also grow leaves w/ a bigger surface area to take advantage of all the light it gets. Some plants have tendrils or suckers that let them climb up structures or large trees to reach the light.
Plants also use explosive seed pods, animals, or even water to carry their seeds as far away as possible.