Negative Interactions

Negative Interactions:

These comprise the relations, in which one or both the species are injured in any way during their life period. Some (Clarke, 1954) favor to call such kinds of associations as ‘antagonism’. These negative interactions are usually categorized into three wide categories, as exploitation, antibiosis and competition that are illustrated below:


In this, one species harms the other by making its direct or indirect utilization for support shelter, or food. Therefore exploitation might be in respect of shelter or food.

1. Shelter:

The so-called ‘parasitic birds’ as cuckoo and cowbird never make their own nests and female lays eggs in the nest set up by birds of another generally smaller species.

2. Food:

The different relationships in respect of food might belong to:

a) Parasitism:

A parasite is an organism living on or in the body of the other organism and deriving its food more or less enduringly from its tissues.

There are certain parasitic vascular plants. Species of Cuscuta (net stem parasites) grow on another plant on which they depend for nourishment. The young stem twines about the host stem from which adventitious roots build up that lastly penetrate the stem of the host, establishing relationship with its conducting elements. The specialized roots are termed as haustoria.

The other illustrations of such association are total root parasites as Orabanche, and Epifagus (i.e., Orobanchaceae) that are found on roots of higher plants. Rafflesia is found on the roots of Vitis. Members of the family Loranthaceae (i.e., Viscum album, Loranthus sp) are partial stem parasites. They grow up rooted in branches of the host trees. Others such as Santalum album are partial root parasite. Their roots are joined to host plants. The majority of parasites are microorganisms, of which mycoplasmas, fungi, bacteria, rickettsias and viruses parasitise plants and also animals.

b) Carnivorous Plants:

A number of plants like Nepenthes, Drosera, Utricularia, Darlingtonia, and Dionaea use insects and other small animals for their foods. They are also termed as insectivorous plants.  They are adapted in remarkable manners to attract, catch and digest their victims. Their leaves or foliar appendages generate proteolytic enzymes for the digestion of insects. The carnivorous habit in plants is stated to be an incidental feature of their nutrition, as they possess green leaves and carry out photosynthesis.

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