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Is there any phenomenon/force in biology when two very close species fiercely fight each other (as a sign of a strong tendency to deepen the difference between species)? If there is, what's the name of the phenomenon or any similar phenomenon? (Question from a layman in biology, thanks for an answer.)

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  • $\begingroup$ What do you mean by tendency to deepen the difference between species? Are you talking about evolutionary process that yield the two species to differ due to competition? $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Dec 8 '15 at 16:05
  • $\begingroup$ Oh you are talking about speciation? Not talking about relationships between the two lineages of interest, I answered your question below but I am not sure this is exactly what you were looking for. $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Dec 8 '15 at 16:09
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Citing wikipedia

Character displacement refers to the phenomenon where differences among similar species whose distributions overlap geographically are accentuated in regions where the species co-occur, but are minimized or lost where the species’ distributions do not overlap. This pattern results from evolutionary change driven by competition among species for a limited resource (e.g. food). The rationale for character displacement stems from the competitive exclusion principle, also called Gause's Law, which contends that to coexist in a stable environment two competing species must differ in their respective ecological niche; without differentiation, one species will eliminate or exclude the other through competition.


In ecology, the competitive exclusion principle, sometimes referred to as Gause's law of competitive exclusion or just Gause's law,[2] is a proposition that states that two species competing for the same resource cannot coexist at constant population values, if other ecological factors remain constant. When one species has even the slightest advantage or edge over another then the one with the advantage will dominate in the long term. One of the two competitors will always overcome the other, leading to either the extinction of this competitor or an evolutionary or behavioral shift toward a different ecological niche. The principle has been paraphrased into the maxim "complete competitors cannot coexist"

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  • $\begingroup$ Character displacement is very close to what i'm looking for. When small differences suddenly start to play a big role and result in split. Cheers $\endgroup$ – Max Dec 8 '15 at 16:10
  • $\begingroup$ Can you try to explain what is the difference? Maybe you are specifically including a (allopatric/sympatric) speciation event into the story... $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Dec 8 '15 at 16:12
  • $\begingroup$ I'll accept your answer, i'm new member, it says to wait for 5 mins. The crucial point you made right - when small differences are accentuated. I was looking for this thing $\endgroup$ – Max Dec 8 '15 at 16:15
  • $\begingroup$ Sure take your time. I just wanted to invite you to explain why the answer does not answer if it does not. Make sure to wait to see if others agree with my answer or if they downvote or comment on it. $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Dec 8 '15 at 16:18
  • $\begingroup$ For my non-biological purpose it fits well. I was looking at the term that denotes the situation when differences between two very close species get accentuated in their proximity. $\endgroup$ – Max Dec 8 '15 at 16:19

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