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One species completely depends on the other in this connection for food and survival. The species that are fed upon is known as the prey, while the species that feeds on another species is known as the predator. Predation is the name given to the entire relationship.

Because the predator is typically larger and more powerful than the prey, it eats prey throughout its whole life cycle. A predator may become prey in some food chains and food webs since all living things eventually acquire some sort of defense system. In addition to serving as “conduits” for energy transfer among trophic levels, predators also play a crucial role in maintaining the prey population. Predators also contribute to the preservation of species variety in communities by lowering levels of prey-species competition.

For example, The starfish Pisaster is a significant predator in the rocky intertidal habitats along the Pacific Coast of North America. In a field experiment, interspecific competition caused more than 10 species of invertebrates to go extinct in less than a year when all the starfish were removed from a restricted intertidal area.

A predator may over-exploit its prey if it is overly effective, leading to the potential extinction of both the prey and the predator due to a shortage of food. Predators in nature are “prudent” because of this. To decrease the effects of predation, prey animals have developed a variety of defenses. Some frog and bug species have camouflaged colors to help them avoid being easily seen by predators.

Also Read: Ecosystem and Its Components

What are Predators?



Predators are living organisms that go after and kill prey. Predators eat live things, which are referred to as “prey.” Predators can be omnivores or carnivores. Lions, tigers, sharks, and snakes are examples of predators.

The majority of them do not have a particular prey and feed on a variety of species, some of which they consume in large quantities. For instance, ladybeetles can eat hundreds of aphids in a single day.

Types of Predator


The prey of carnivorous predators is killed and consumed. Large creatures like the lion and tigers are among them. Each carnivore has a unique method of feeding, with blue whales dining on zooplankton and other small marine creatures to sea otters eating sea stars. Even while some species consume very little flesh, they are still classified as carnivores. Additionally, some carnivores include plants in their diet. In the food chain, a carnivore may be a secondary or tertiary consumer. Carnivorous predators kill and eat their prey.


Animals categorized as herbivores get all of their nutrition from plants and other plant-based sources. In a food chain, herbivores are the main consumers. Animals in this category include cows, buffaloes, goats, sheep, deer, and many others that eat plants and plant products. This also benefits the prey, which in this case are the plants. For instance, numerous herbivores wander around, scattering fruit seeds. Those seeds sprout into a new plant after they germinate.


An organism classified as an omnivore consumes both plant and animal products in its diet. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, eggs, fish, and various types of meat are all part of their typical diets, along with other plant and animal products. There are many creatures that are omnivorous in the wild, including bears, badgers, hedgehogs, skunks, sloths, squirrels, raccoons, rabbits, and rodents. Humans, chimpanzees, and orangutans are all omnivores and members of the hominid family.


These predators feed on their hosts’ bodies, which they enter, to survive and reproduce. Although the host loses energy as a result, it rarely dies, instead, the parasite gains from the body of the host. This group of organisms includes roundworms, leeches, ticks, lice, and mites.

Predator Adaptations

Different forms of adaptations are used by predators to make it easier for them to get their prey. A few of these adaptations are given below,


To help them avoid being seen by their prey, predators use camouflage. They are then able to launch a quick attack and benefit from the element of surprise. Additionally, they are shielded from any potentially lethal predator defense as a result of this. For instance, a tiger can pursue its victim covertly in the tall grass or the dense forest due to its stripes.

Mechanical Adaptations

Predators can have control over their prey due to mechanical adaptations including sharp teeth, clawed paws, dense hair, and superior speed and force. The cheetah can outrun and catch its prey because of its speed.

Chemical Adaptations

Venom, toxins, and poison are examples of chemical adaptations used to kill prey. To protect themselves against the chemical defenses of the prey, they have also created chemical changes. For instance, monarch butterflies consume a poisonous dairy plant. They are no longer affected by it because of the way they have evolved.

Example of Predators

Predators are classified into 2 types based on their body size:

Large Predator 

Large predators can kill their prey due to particular adaptations. Some of the huge predators found on Earth are polar bears, killer whales, and great white sharks.

The main food source for polar bears is sealed. Killer whales consume fish, sea lions, seals, and other animals. The most destructive ocean predator, great white sharks consume practically every variety of organisms.

Small Predator

Small predators do not cause chaos in large populations, rarely do small predators cause massive destruction.. For instance, sea stars primarily consume different kinds of shellfish. The tiniest predator that eats aphids is the ladybird.

FAQs on Predators

Question 1: What are Predator and Prey?


Predators are organisms that hunt and eat other organisms to sustain themselves. The organism that is killed and eaten by the predator is known as the prey.

Question 2: Discuss the role of Predators in an Ecosystem.


Predators are very important as they perform the following crucial roles in an ecosystem, 

  • They serve as “conduits” for the passage of energy to higher trophic levels.
  • They maintain a balance in the ecology by limiting the prey population, which may otherwise reach extremely high densities.
  • By reducing the severity of rivalry among the competing prey species, they assist in maintaining species diversity in a community.

Question 3: Define Predation.


Predation is an interspecies interaction where a weak animal (called prey) is killed and eaten by a strong animal (called predator). 

Question 4: Define Population


A population is a collection of members of the same species who share or compete for resources in a specific geographic area.

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Last Updated : 17 Feb, 2023
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