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ony is composed of two or more conspecific individuals living in close association with, or connected to, one another. This association is usually for mutual benefit such as stronger defense or the ability to attack bigger prey. It is 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 contrast, solitary organisms are ones in which all individuals live independently and have all of the functions needed to survive and reproduce. Colonies, in the context of development, may be composed of two or more unitary (or solitary) organisms or be modular organisms. Unitary organisms have determinate development (set life stages) from zygote to adult form and individuals or groups of individuals (colonies) are visually distinct. Modular organisms have indeterminate growth forms (life stages not set) through repeated iteration of genetically identical mod ules (or individuals), and it can be difficult to distinguish between the colony as a whole and the modules within. In the latter case, modules may have specific functions within the colony. Some organisms are primarily independent and form facultative colonies in reply to environmental conditions while others must live in a colony to survive (obligate). For example, some carpe