In details

Ecological Relations

In an ecosystem, living beings relate to the physical environment as well as to one another, forming what we call ecological relationships.

Ecological relationships occur within the same population (that is, between individuals of the same species), or between different populations (between individuals of different species). These relationships are established in the search for food, water, space, shelter, light or partners for reproduction.

Here are some examples of these types of relationships.

Harmonic Relations (positive relations)

Intra-specific (between individuals of the same species)


Permanent union between individuals in which there is division of labor. Eg social insects (bees, ants and termites)

What draws the most attention in a hive is its organization. All the work is done by non-reproducing bees, the workers. They are in charge of harvesting the nectar from the flowers, cleaning and defending the hive and feeding the queens and larvae (the future bees) with honey, which is produced from nectar.

The queen is the only fertile female in the hive lays the eggs that will originate other workers and also the drones (males), whose sole function is to fertilize the queen.

Therefore, a society is made up of a group of like-minded individuals who live together permanently and cooperating with each other.

Among mammals we also find several examples of societies, such as beavers, gorillas, baboons, and the human species itself. The division of labor is not as strict as the bees, but there are also various forms of cooperation. It is common, for example, for an animal to scream when it sees a predator approaching the group; or even an animal sharing food with others.


Anatomical association forming a structural and functional unit. Ex .: brain coral, caravel.

Colony is a group of organisms of the same species that form a different entity from individual organisms. Sometimes some of these individuals specialize in certain functions necessary for the colony. A coral reef, for example, is built by millions of small animals (polyps) that secrete around a rigid skeleton. The Blue Bottle (Physalia) is made up of hundreds of float-safe polyps specializing in different functions such as feeding and defense; each does not survive in isolation from the colony.

Bacteria and other unicellular organisms also often cluster within a mucous envelope.

Bees and ants, on the other hand, differ in queen, bumblebee with reproductive functions and workers (or workers) with other functions, but each individual can survive separately. Therefore, these species are called eusocial, that is, they form a society and not a colony.