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Amensalism , derived from the Greek root a- = "not" and mensalis = "table", is a non-uniform term for two different forms of coexistence between two organisms . Both uses are a form of antibiosis that describes the coexistence between two living beings of different species, similar to parasitism .

In the first form of amensalism, one species is harmed or impaired by the other without any apparent benefit. The species that is exposed to the negative influence has no influence on the other species. In the second form, although one species has an advantage from living together, the other species has no influence and also no disadvantage from the benefiting species.

An example of the first-mentioned form: Mammals trample plants near watering holes and compact the soil. This has a negative effect for the plants, while for the mammals neither benefits nor disadvantages arise from the damage to the plants.


  • Keyword “Amensalism.” In: Herder-Lexikon der Biologie. Spectrum Akademischer Verlag GmbH, Heidelberg 2003. ISBN 3-8274-0354-5