∞ generated and posted on 2016.08.29 ∞
Organism, usually an animal, that kills and then consumes another animal.
|Other organisms which are not Predators consume other organisms but don't kill them (e.g., herbivores), and yet other organisms kill other organisms but don't exactly consume them (e.g., pathogens). So Predators are somewhat unique in doing both of these things. Though we usually think of Predators as animals, in fact there are also protozoa, bacteria, fungi, and even plants that are able to perform this feat.|
Typically a substantial portion of the prey animal is consumed and with predators this consumption usually occurs by ingestion. Predators represent a subset of organisms that can be described as carnivores though omnivores too can be predators.
Predators are an example of exploiters where the prey are victims. The smallest of such exploiters are bacteria that eat other bacteria or, arguably (below), instead the smallest predators are viruses of single-called organisms (where viruses of multicelled organisms are more clearly parasites).
The largest predator is the blue whale, which are voracious consumers of crustaceans collectively described as krill
Parasitism arguably is a form of predation since parasites steal from the organisms they are infecting. Parasites, however, typically consume a smaller portion of the victim than do predators and do not necessarily kill their victims.
Herbivory too is similar to predation in that another organism is being consumed, typically by an animal. Like parasitism, though, the organism that is consumed in most cases is consumed only partially in the course of herbivory. In addition, the victim in the case of herbivory usually is a plant. This is rather than the animal or animals that are being consumed with predation.