12 Difference Between R-selected And K-selected Species With Examples   - AMERICAN GARDENER (2024)

by americangardener

What Are R-selected Species?

R-selected species also referred to as r-strategistsarespecieswhose populations are governed by theirbiotic potential(maximum reproductive capacity,r). The production of numerous small offspring followed by exponential population growth is the defining characteristic ofr-selected species. They require shortgestationperiods, mature quickly (and thus require little or no parental care), and possess shortlife spans. UnlikeK-selected species, members of this group are capable ofreproductionat a relatively young age; however, many offspring die before they reach reproductive age.

In addition,r-selected species thrive in disturbedhabitats, such as freshly burnedgrasslandsorforestscharacterized by canopies that open abruptly, such as when a forest’s tallest trees have been knocked down by awindstorm. Temporaryenvironments, such as vernal ponds and carrion, also harborr-selected species.Here the ability to reproduce rapidly (exponentially) is important. Such organisms have high fecundity (glossary) and relatively little investment in any one progeny individual; they are typically weak and subject to predation and the vicissitudes of their environment. The “strategic intent” is to flood the habitat with progeny so that, regardless of predation or mortality, at least some of the progeny will survive to reproduce. Organisms that are r-selected have short life spans, are generally small, quick to mature and waste a lot of energy.

Typical examples of r-strategists are:

  • Salmon
  • Corals
  • Bacteria
  • Oysters
  • Weeds
  • Mice
  • Rabbits
  • Jellyfish
  • Dandelions
  • Insects such as Mosquitoes, House flies, Daphnia and Goldenrod

Facts About R-selected species

  • R-selected species live in variable, unstable habitats (environments with non-predictable conditions).
  • R-selected species tend to be small in size and therefore requires a small habitat to live in.
  • R-selected species reach sexual maturity early in life.
  • They generally have a short life expectancy.
  • Their population is not regulated by density.
  • R-selected species undergo rapid reproduction to stabilize themselves.
  • R-selected organisms reproduce only a single time during their lifespan and require less energy to procreate.
  • R-selected species produce many offspring but only a few live out their full lifespan.
  • Less prone to extinction because they mature early in life and have a large number of offspring.
  • They are easily subject to predation.
  • Have high mortality rate.
  • R-selected species tend to have a J-shaped population growth curve.
  • In R-selected species, there is little or no parental care of young ones.
  • They have poor competitive ability.

Also Read: Different Types of Striped Caterpillars

What Are K-selected Species?

K-selected species, also calledK-strategist,specieswhose populations fluctuate at or near thecarrying capacity (K) of theenvironmentin which they reside. K-selected species possess relatively stable populations and tend to produce relatively low numbers of offspring; however, individual offspring tend to be quite large with high probability of survival in comparison withr-selected species.K-selected species are characterized by longgestationperiods lasting several months, slow maturation (and thus extended parental care), and longlife spans. They are stronger or are better protected and generally are more energy efficient. In addition, they tend to inhabit relatively stablebiological communities, such as late-successional or climaxforests.

Examples ofK-selected species include:

  • Birds
  • Tortoises
  • Rhinoceros
  • Sperm whales
  • Blue whales
  • Grizzlies Lemurs
  • Largermammals (such aselephants,horses, andprimates)
  • Larger

Facts About K-selected Species

  • K-selected species live in stable environments (environments with predictable conditions).
  • K-selected species tend to be larger in size and therefore requires a large habitat to live in.
  • K-selected species reach sexual maturity later in life.
  • They generally have long life expectancy.
  • Their population stabilizes near carrying capacity.
  • K-selected organisms are high in population and do not need to undergo rapid reproduction.
  • K-selected organisms reproduce many times during their life span and require more energy to procreate.
  • K-selected species have a few offspring that have a long life expectancy.
  • K-selected organisms are more prone to extinction than r-selected species because they mature later in life and have fewer offspring with longer gestation periods.
  • They are less easily subject to predation.
  • Have low mortality rate.
  • K-selected species tend to have an S-shaped population growth curve.
  • In K-selected species, there is prolonged parental care of the young ones.
  • They generally have a good competitive ability.
12 Difference Between R-selected And K-selected Species With Examples - AMERICAN GARDENER (1)

Difference Between R-selected And K-selected Species In Tabular Form

ELEMENTS OF COMPARISONR-SELECTED SPECIESK-SELECTED SPECIES
HabitatThey live in variable, unstable habitats (environments with non-predictable conditions).They live in stable environments (environments with predictable conditions).
SizeThe species tend to be small in size and therefore requires a small habitat to live in.The species tend to be larger in size and therefore requires a large habitat to live in.
Sexual MaturitySpecies reach sexual maturity early in life.Species reach sexual maturity later in life.
Life ExpectancyThey generally have a short life expectancy.They generally have long life expectancy.
PopulationTheir population is not regulated by density.Their population stabilizes near carrying capacity.
ReproductionR-selected species undergo rapid reproduction to stabilize themselves.The organisms are high in population and do not need to undergo rapid reproduction.
Number Of ReproductionR-selected organisms reproduce only a single time during their lifespan and require less energy to procreate.K-selected organisms reproduce many times during their life span and require more energy to procreate.
Number Of OffspringSpecies produce many offspring but only a few live out their full lifespan.Species have a few offspring that have a long life expectancy.
ExtinctionLess prone to extinction because they mature early in life and have a large number of offspring.The organisms are more prone to extinction than r-selected species because they mature later in life and have fewer offspring with longer gestation periods.
PredationThey are easily subject to predation.They are less easily subject to predation.
MortalityHave high mortality rate.Have low mortality rate.
Population Growth CurveR-selected species tend to have a J-shaped population growth curve.K-selected species tend to have an S-shaped population growth curve.
Competitive AbilityThey have poor competitive ability.They generally have a good competitive ability.

Further References

  1. https://www.nps.gov/articles/bison-bellows-5-26-16.htm#:~:text=K%2Dselected%20species%20possess%20relatively,are%20all%20k%2Dselected%20species.
  2. https://www.britannica.com/science/K-selected-species
  3. https://www2.nau.edu/lrm22/lessons/r_and_k_selection/r_and_k.html
  4. https://study.com/learn/lesson/r-selected-vs-k-selected-species-overview-population-growth.html
  5. https://www.cs.montana.edu/webworks/projects/stevesbook/contents/chapters/chapter002/section004/blue/page003.html
12 Difference Between R-selected And K-selected Species With Examples   - AMERICAN GARDENER (2024)

FAQs

12 Difference Between R-selected And K-selected Species With Examples   - AMERICAN GARDENER? ›

R-selected species tend to be small, produce few offspring, invest little care in their young, and display high juvenile mortality rates. K-selected species tend to be large, live longer lives, produce few offspring, invest a lot of time and energy into each offspring, and have lower juvenile mortality rates.

What is the difference between r-selected species and k-selected species? ›

The r-selected species are the species that produce a higher number of progenies or offsprings but offer less parental care i.e. less individual parental investment, whereas the K-selected species produced less offspring or number of progenies but providing more parental care or parental investment to each individual.

What is the difference between k-selected species and r-selected species quizlet? ›

K-selected species live long lives and produce few offspring, whereas r-selected species live short lives and produce numerous offspring. Furthermore, K-selected species often invest in their young by performing parental care, while r-selected species offer minimal to no care and protection to their offspring.

What are examples of R and K selected? ›

Typical examples of r-species are mice, rabbits, weeds and bacteria, which have a lot of offspring, but a short life expectancy. Examples of organisms undergoing K-selection are tortoises, elephants, people, and sequoia trees: their offspring are few but long-lived.

What is the difference between r-selected and k-selected invasive species? ›

Whether a species is K- or r-selected refers to its reproductive strategy. K-selected species produce few, large offspring and care for them extensively. In contrast, r-selected species produce many, small offspring and do not provide much care for them.

What is an example of an R species vs K species? ›

You can see r- and K-selected strategies clearly by looking at different organisms within a phylogenetic group, such as the mammals. For example, elephants are highly K-selected, whereas mice are much more r-selected. Among the fishes, most, like the salmon, are r-selected.

What animals are both R and K-selected? ›

Similarly, reptiles such as sea turtles display both r- and K-traits: although sea turtles are large organisms with long lifespans (provided they reach adulthood), they produce large numbers of unnurtured offspring.

Which of the following best explains the difference between R and K-selected species in terms of population recovery after an environmental disturbance? ›

Answer and Explanation:

K-selected species are slower to recover from an environmental disturbance than r-selected species because species that are K-selected tend to mature later in their lives than r-selected species and have less offspring per reproduction event.

Are dandelions R or K-selected? ›

(b) Dandelions are considered r-selected species as they mature early, have short lifespans, and produce many offspring that receive no parental care (Credit Greg Hume; CC BY-SA 4.0).

Which type K or R are most invasive species? ›

R-selected species fit this description, as their quick growth allows them to colonize disturbed and early habitats well.

What is an example of K selection? ›

K-selected species possess relatively stable populations fluctuating near the carrying capacity of the environment. These species are characterized by having only a few offspring but investing high amounts of parental care. Elephants, humans, and bison are all k-selected species.

Which of the following is an example of K selection? ›

Examples of K-selected species include birds, larger mammals (such as elephants, horses, and primates), and larger plants.

What is an r-selected species? ›

R-selected species are those that produce a large number of offspring and contribute few resources to each individual offspring. They often offer little to no parental care, have high offspring mortality, short life spans, and small body sizes.

Is an elephant an R or K-selected species? ›

Few offspring that take a long time to develop ensure that the population doesn't grow too rapidly, exceed the carrying capacity, or outstrip the resources of the environment. Thus, the elephant is considered a K-selected species.

Are R or K-selected species more vulnerable to extinction? ›

Short Answer. K-selected species are more vulnerable to extinction than r-selected species due to their slow reproductive rates, late sexual maturity, limited adaptability, and low genetic diversity.

What is a K-selected species? ›

K-selected species are characterized by long gestation periods lasting several months, slow maturation (and thus extended parental care), and long life spans. In addition, they tend to inhabit relatively stable biological communities, such as late-successional or climax forests (see ecological succession).

What is the difference between K strategist and R strategist? ›

R-strategists reproduce quickly when resources are plentiful and have many offspring. K-strategists have a stable environment, produce only a few offspring at a time, and care for the young after birth. The carrying capacity is the number of individuals that an ecosystem can support.

References

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