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From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary
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noun, plural: colonies

(biology) Several individual organisms (especially of the same species) living together in close association.

(cell culture) A cluster of identical cells (clones) on the surface of (or within) a solid medium, usually derived from a single parent cell, as in bacterial colony.


In biology, typical examples of colonies are insect colonies. For example, an ant colony is comprised of ants that live closely together due to mutual benefits, such as to make stronger defense.

Single-celled organisms can also form colonies, as coenobium is a colony of single-celled Volvox species.

Bacteria form colonies when grown in a solid medium. The colony is actually (and ideally) a group of bacterial clones since they are all derived from only a single parent cell.

Word origin: from Latin colonia
Related forms: colonial (adjective)

Related terms: