What are biotic and not biotic

Biotic factors

In this article we will show you the different biotic factors using examples. We have also prepared a definition for you.

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Biotic factors simply explained

You count all of them among the biotic factors living parts of an ecosystem (like animals and plants) that interrelate interact and interact. This creates different relationships between living beings.

The connections are either between species (Interspecific relationship) like a symbiosis or a predator prey relationship or between individuals of a species (Intraspecific relationship) such as social associations or sexual partners. The relationship between living things can be both positive or negative be for one or both organisms.

Definition of biotic factors

The biotic factors (also biotic environmental factors or biotic eco-factors; origin: Greek bios = life) are all living elements of an ecosystem that interact and interact.

Differentiation between biotic environmental factors and abiotic environmental factors

Environmental factors are all components of the environment that interact with another part.

The biotic environmental factors are all enlivened Elements (mainly animals and plants) of an ecosystem that interact and interact with one another in different ways (example of biotic factors: competition, symbiosis). The living beings together form the Biocenosis(= Community) in one Ecosystem

To the abiotic environmental factors you count all inanimate components of nature, such as water resources, temperature, air pressure, wind and soil conditions. Together they shape that Biotope (= Habitat) in the ecosystem.

Biotic factors and abiotic factors interact with each other in the ecosystem.

Overview: Biotic Factors

The biotic factors close all Interactions between different living things with a. You are looking at relationships between individual organisms of the same species (iintraspecific relationship) as well as relationships between members of different animal and plant species (ichild-specific relationship).

The interactions and interactions between living things can be both negative as well as positive be for a kind.

In the following table you can see various biotic factors and whether they are interspecial or intraspecific relationships:

Biotic factorsInterspecific relationshipIntraspecific relationship
Predator prey relationshipsX
Food relationsX
Social associationsX
Sexual partnerX

In the following, we will introduce you to various biotic factors in more detail.


Competition is an important biotic factor. It occurs within the organisms of a species (intraspecific competition) and also between different species that have similar demands on life (in-specific competition). 

Living beings that have similar demands on food, territory or nesting sites, for example, inhabit a similar one ecological niche . As a result, they are in direct competition with each other (Exclusion of competition principle ). The inferior species tries to avoid competition and to adapt their living standards (interference in other ecological niches).

This competitive behavior has a negative effect on both parties. In the case of asymmetrical competition, the inferior living being is more disadvantaged.

Individuals of the same species (intraspecific competition) compete for almost all resources that the species needs to survive and spread, such as food, nesting sites or sexual partners.

In the following table you can see which factors the living things compete for:

Competition for:Interspecific competitionIntra-specific competition
Food / preyXX
Light (especially plants)XX
Nesting sitesXX
Territories / habitatXX
Sexual partnerX


The symbiosis is the coexistence of two species from which both benefit.

One example is the maggot chopper, who enters into a cleaning symbiosis with larger wild animals in the savannah or in deserts. The bird frees animals such as elephants from harmful parasites and thereby feeds on them at the same time.


Also the Parasitism you count the biotic factors. Parasites feed on their hosts. The relationship harms or even kills the host. the parasite alone takes advantage of this relationship.

Ticks that drink the blood of their prey are an example of the parasite. The cuckoo, which lays its eggs in other people's nests in the forest, is one of them.

Predator prey relationships

Animals that feed on other living things (prey) are the predators. This relationship is, of course, beneficial for the predator and negative for the prey. The interaction of the two types is described by the Predator prey relationship , another biotic factor.

Depending on how many predators there are in relation to the prey, the population density of the other species also fluctuates Lotka Volterra rules . When there are many predators, they reduce the number of prey. If there are only a few predators, the prey can multiply better. However, many prey animals also cause the predators to spread faster because they have no difficulty in finding food.

Different prey animals have adapted their appearance to protect themselves from predators (Protective costumes). Some living things have flashy, intense colors to warn their predators (warning apparel) or to pretend that they are dangerous animals (mimicry). Other organisms have adapted their color (camouflage) or their shape and posture (mimetic) to their environment in order to camouflage themselves.

Food relations

Food relations like Food chains , Food webs and Food pyramids assign predators and food to a living being. So they describe who eats what and by whom it is eaten. To do this, you divide them into trophy levels (producer, consumer, destroyer). With the help of the food relationships you can see how different species are related to each other.

For example, a rabbit (herbivorous consumer) feeds on plant-based food such as grass or leaves (producers). It is eaten by foxes or birds of prey (carnivorous consumers). When one of the animals or plants dies, it is broken down by the destructive elements such as fungi, bacteria and earthworms.


One amensalism has a negative effect in one way, the second living being remains unaffected.

For example, if larger mammals trample the ground, then they have no advantage or disadvantage. But they also destroy small plants or trample insects, which are weakened or killed as a result.


Under a parabiosis you can imagine a relationship between living beings from which both can benefit without the individuals influencing each other.

Birds, for example, settle near larger animals that eat meadows. The larger animals like cows attract insects that the birds use for food. The advantage of the larger animals is that they are disturbed by fewer insects (Parökie).