Biology as Poetry: Ecology

Bacteriophage Ecology Group


Organisms that are killed and then consumed by other organisms.

These other organisms are predators, and prey serve as food for predators.

Note that other forms exploitation of one organisms by another exist that do not necessarily result result in either the killing or substantial consumption of the victim species. These other forms of victim-exploiter interactions include herbivory and parasitism where the victim is not necessarily killed nor eaten to a substantial extent, and various aspects of decomposition, as by saprophytes and detrivores, where the victim is not killed by the consumer but instead is already dead at the point of consumption.

Typically the word prey is used to describe animal victims. Microorganisms, however, can serve as prey to larger organisms, both animals and other larger microorganisms, the latter such as protozoa. Similarly, seeds, since they constitute an entire plant individual, can be envisaged as equivalent to prey, such as when consumed by an insect or rodent.

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