The relationship between predator and prey

Mary Anne Lonergan November 7, 2019

Reviewing the difference between prey and predator

The relationship between predator and prey

Predator and prey have a complex relationship where the former hunts the latter and the latter becomes the food source of the former. Thus, a predator is the organism that feeds while the one that’s fed upon is the prey. When considering the difference between prey and predator, people often talk about animals but there are some animal-plant pairs too that show a predator and prey relationship like rabbit and lettuce, grasshopper and leaf, bear and berry, etc.

Trade-offs between predator and prey

A dynamic relation exists between the prey and predator populations and the increase or decrease in one directly affects the other. For example, an increase in the population of a prey such as rabbits would support a bigger number of predator populations like foxes at the higher level of the food chain. In contrast, when the rabbit population decreases (perhaps due to being affected by disease or over-exploitation), the predator population too will soon experience a steady decline. It’s common to observe the populations of prey and predator cycling up and down in number over time.

Evolution of prey and predator             

When doing a comparison of prey and predator, one would find that they evolve together. Since the predator would die if it doesn’t get food, it evolves by developing its skills like stealth, speed, resistance to the prey's poison, etc to ensure that it gets to eat the prey. The prey too adapts in different ways like developing a good sense of sight/hearing/smell to detect the predator, camouflage to hide from the predator, or having thorns, poisonous bites/sprays etc. that helps it to avoid being eaten by the predator.


Call to action:

What more can you add to the relationship between a prey and predator? Let me know in the comments section below. To take the conversation forward, you can reach me via Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. To have some interesting reads, be sure to check out my books.



New England Complex Systems Institute. “PREDATOR-PREY RELATIONSHIPS.” Accessed April 25, 2019. “Predator–Prey Relationships/Environmental Science: In Context.” Accessed April 25, 2019.

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Mary A. Lonergan

Mary A. Lonergan is a retired aesthetician. Being hearing impaired, she is a member of the Canadian Hearing So . . .

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