Which of These Species Is Not Correctly Matched to Its Correct Type of Survivorship Curve?

Which of These Species Is Not Correctly Matched to Its Correct Type of Survivorship Curve?

Survivorship curves are graphical representations that depict the mortality rates of a species over its lifespan. These curves can be classified into three types – Type I, Type II, and Type III – based on the species’ survival characteristics. Each type of curve represents a different pattern of mortality and survivorship. However, sometimes there may be confusion or misinterpretation when associating a particular species with its correct type of survivorship curve. In this article, we will discuss various species and identify which one is not correctly matched with its respective survivorship curve.

1. Humans – Type I Survivorship Curve:
Humans generally exhibit a Type I survivorship curve. This means that most individuals survive into old age, and mortality rates increase significantly only towards the end of their lifespan. This pattern is observed in developed countries where access to healthcare and improved living conditions contribute to longer life expectancies.

2. Birds – Type II Survivorship Curve:
Birds, on the other hand, typically exhibit a Type II survivorship curve. This indicates a relatively constant mortality rate throughout their lifespan. Birds face various risks such as predation, disease, and accidents, which can affect individuals of all ages equally, resulting in a steady decline in survivorship.

3. Trees – Type III Survivorship Curve:
Trees are often associated with a Type III survivorship curve. This type of curve reflects high mortality rates during the early stages of the tree’s life. Many factors, including competition for resources, herbivory, and disease, contribute to the significant loss of young trees. However, once a tree reaches maturity, it experiences a comparatively low mortality rate, resulting in a higher survivorship.

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4. Insects – Type I Survivorship Curve:
Insects, including beetles and butterflies, are commonly believed to exhibit a Type I survivorship curve. However, this is not the correct match. Insects generally follow a Type III survivorship curve. The majority of insect offspring face high mortality rates due to predation, limited resources, and environmental factors. Only a small proportion survives to reproductive age, after which their mortality rate decreases significantly.


Q: What factors contribute to the different types of survivorship curves?
A: Various factors influence the shape of survivorship curves. These include predation, disease, availability of resources, environmental conditions, and the species’ life history traits.

Q: Are survivorship curves universal for all species?
A: No, survivorship curves can vary across species. Different organisms have evolved diverse survival strategies, resulting in distinct patterns of mortality and survivorship.

Q: Can survivorship curves change over time for a species?
A: Yes, survivorship curves can change due to changes in environmental conditions, human interventions, or adaptations. For example, improvements in healthcare and technology have led to an increase in human life expectancies, altering the shape of the survivorship curve.

Q: Are there any other types of survivorship curves besides Type I, II, and III?
A: While Type I, II, and III are the most commonly recognized types of survivorship curves, there can be variations or combinations of these curves. Some species may exhibit patterns that do not fit perfectly into any of these categories.

Q: Why is it important to understand survivorship curves?
A: Survivorship curves provide valuable insights into the life history and mortality patterns of different species. They help ecologists and conservationists understand population dynamics, make predictions about future population trends, and design effective conservation strategies.

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In conclusion, it is crucial to correctly match species with their respective survivorship curves to gain a deeper understanding of their mortality patterns and life history strategies. While humans exhibit a Type I survivorship curve, birds follow a Type II curve and trees are associated with a Type III curve. However, insects, contrary to common belief, demonstrate a Type III survivorship curve. By studying survivorship curves, we can unravel the intricacies of species’ survival and contribute to their conservation efforts.

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