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an area of land or water occupied by an organism, a group of a single species, a biocenosis, or a synousia and possessing all conditions required for its existence (climate, topography, soil, food).
The habitat of a species is defined as the total area within the species’ range of distribution that satisfies the species’ ecological requirements. The habitat of a population is the part of the species’ habitat that will guarantee the existence of a population. The habitat of an individual is the actual area occupied by a given individual in all phases of its development. There are also animal habitats of family, herd, flock, or colony. There are plant habitats of groves, beds, and other communities. In terms of the use of a habitat, organisms are classified as stenotopic, occupying similar habitats only, and eurytopic, capable of occupying a variety of habitats within the given range of distribution.
The habitats of many species vary with the stage of development in the organism’s life cycle. For example, the larvae of amphibians usually live in water, and the adults on land. Many parasites have a dormant phase outside the given host and an active phase within the host (often limited even to certain organs). The various developmental phases of many parasitic plants are associated with different plant hosts. The part of the habitat that a species occupies for a limited time only (a season, a part of a day) or for a particular purpose (feeding, reproduction) is called a station. The habitat of a biocenosis is called a biotope.
REFERENCESNaumov, N. P. Ekologiia zhivotnykh, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1963.
Osnovy lesnoi biogeotsenologii. Edited by V. N. Sukachev and N. V. Dylis. Moscow, 1964.
N. P. NAUMOV