A generalist species is able to thrive in a wide variety of environmental conditions and can make use of a variety of different resources (for example, a heterotroph with a varied diet). A specialist species can thrive only in a narrow range of environmental conditions or has a limited diet. Most organisms do not all fit neatly into either group, however. Some species are highly specialized (the most extreme case being monophagous, eating one specific type of food), others less so, and some can tolerate many different environments. In other words, there is a continuum from highly specialized to broadly generalist species.
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