The concepts of life cycle and life history are widely used in ecology and evolution, but there is no formal definition of both concepts. In this assessment the concepts used in the literature in hierarchical terms are reviewed. The main problems detected were associated with the object of the definition (individuals versus organisms) and the hierarchy (individuals, populations, species). Additionally, problems were detected in the use of both concepts associated with erroneous translations from the texts from English to Spanish. It is suggested the use of the concepts of life cycle and life history of Lincoln et al. 1998: “Life cycle is the sequence of events from the origin as a zygote, until the death of an individual”; “Significant characteristics of the life cycle through which an organism passes, with particular reference to the strategies that influence survival and reproduction.” Finally, it is important not to confuse both concepts, not treat them as synonyms, and their use from a hierarchical perspective, therefore, must be explicit if referring to individuals, populations, species or other evolutionary lineage of interest.
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Copyright (c) 2020 Christian M. Ibáñez