Predation is a biological interaction where one organism, the predator, kills and eats another organism, its prey. It is one of a family of common feeding behaviours that includes parasitism and micropredation (which usually do not kill the host) and parasitoidism (which always does, eventually). It is distinct from scavenging on dead prey, though many predators also scavenge; it overlaps with herbivory, as a seed predator is both a predator and a herbivore.
Predators may actively search for prey or sit and wait for it. When prey is detected, the predator assesses whether to attack it. This may involve an ambush or actively pursuit, sometimes after stalking the prey. If the attack is successful, the predator kills the prey, removes any inedible parts like the shell or spines, and eats it.
Predators are adapted and often highly specialized for hunting, with acute senses such as vision, hearing, or smell. Many predatory animals, both vertebrate and invertebrate, have sharp claws or jaws to grip, kill, and cut up their prey. Other adaptations include stealth and aggressive mimicry that improve hunting efficiency.
Predation has a powerful selective effect on prey, and the prey develop antipredator adaptations such as warning coloration, alarm calls and other signals, camouflage, mimicry of well-defended species, and defensive spines and chemicals. Sometimes predator and prey find themselves in an evolutionary arms race, a cycle of adaptations and counter-adaptations. Predation has been a major driver of evolution since at least the Cambrian period.
One who hunts game for sport or for food; a huntsman or huntswoman.
A dog used in hunting.
A horse used in hunting, especially a thoroughbred, bred and trained for hunting.
One who hunts or seeks after anything.
“The hunter becomes the hunted.”
“a fortune hunter”
A kind of spider, the huntsman or hunting spider.
A pocket watch with a spring-hinged circular metal cover that closes over the dial and crystal, protecting them from dust and scratches.
Any animal or other organism that hunts and kills other organisms (their prey), primarily for food.
Someone who attacks and plunders for gain.
A sexual predator.