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Gape Limitation UPSC NOTE


  • In ecology, ‘gape limitation’ stands for the idea that a predator can only eat things that fit in its mouth. 

  • Imagine a snake trying to eat a rabbit. If the rabbit is too big to fit in the snake’s mouth, gape limitation says the latter won’t be able to eat it

  • Researchers pay attention to the concept because it specifies which animals can eat which other animals. 

  • For example, small predators can only eat small prey, while bigger predators can eat bigger prey. 

  • From the prey’s point of view, if a predator’s mouth isn’t big enough to devour it, perhaps those animals are safe from that predator. 

  • This barrier can in turn lead to evolutionary pressure that selects the predator’s ability to eat smaller prey or, conversely, adaptations in the predator’s behaviour to overcome gape limitation

  • Gape limitations also influence how animals evolve over time

  • Prey animals might get faster or grow bigger to avoid being eaten by predators with smaller mouths. 

  • On the other hand, predators may evolve larger mouths to eat larger prey.

  • Understanding gape limitations is essential to predicting how changes in predator or prey populations, changes in habitats, and/or environmental disturbances could affect the structure and function of ecosystems. 

  • The study of gape limitations also helps researchers understand the intricate dynamics of animal interactions and the cascading effects they have on biodiversity



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Gape Limitation UPSC NOTE
Gape Limitation UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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