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Symbiotic Relationships

Symbiotic Relationships

Symbiosis (from Ancient Greek σύν "together" and βίωσις "living") is close and often long-term interaction between different biological species.


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Steven Mills

Steven Mills

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A common type of such relation usually happens in Africa when the crocodile needs a plover bird to clean his teeth. Hence, both the animal and the bird have something to win; the plover bird gets to eat the food between the crocodile’s teeth, while the crocodile gets cleaner mouth to keep surviving and hunting.

Article: Symbiotic relationships e...
Source: Symbiotic relationships e...

symbiotic relationships examples are numerous. Another type worth taking into account is commensalism. In this situation, one specie benefits and the other is not harmed at all. The process is extremely common among humans and animals. For example, we take eggs from the chicken without harming it, we take milk from a cow without killing or hurting the animal, and so on. The relations between humans and animals are the best ways to understand commensalism.

Article: Symbiotic relationships e...
Source: Symbiotic relationships e...

Banded Mongoose have been seen removing ticks from Warthogs in Kenya and Uganda. This symbiotic relationship benefits both species, the Banded Mongoose feed while the warthogs are cleaned.

Article: Banded Mongoose: The Anim...
Source: Banded Mongoose: The Anim...

The term Symbiosis describes a partnership between individuals of two different species, in which both gain. The term was first used in 1879 by the German mycologist Heinrich Anton de Barry, who defined it as "the living together of unlike organisms".

Article: Symbiosis
Source: Symbiosis: The Animal Fil...

It may be one of nature’s oddest couples: a tiny wasp that can barely be seen, and a giant fig tree, the sycomore, which shelters a remarkable menagerie of wildlife among its limbs. The wasp and the fig depend on each other for survival. Without the wasp, the tree could not pollinate its flowers and produce seeds. Without the fig, the wasp would have nowhere to lay its eggs.

Article: The Queen of Trees - Intr...
Source: PBS

Giraffes have a symbiotic relationship with tickbirds. These small birds ride on the giraffe's back, eating pesky insects off of its skin. In return for food, the birds serve as an early warning signal, alerting giraffes to any approaching predators with a loud chirp.

Article: NATURE. Critter Guide. Gi...
Source: PBS

Giant African millipedes have a symbiotic relationship with mites which live on their exoskeleton and
near their legs. They provide the mites with a home and food, and the mites keep the millipede’s
exoskeleton clean by eating debris off of it. These mites are harmless to people.

Article: Giant African Millipede
Source: rosamondgiffordzoo.

After the anemone has eaten its meal, the clownfish feeds on the remains of the kill. It also eats up the dead tentacles of the sea anemone and thereby, keeps the environment around the polyp clean. It also helps its host in getting its prey. The clownfish attracts other fish with its bright colors into the tentacles of the anemone, that the polyp kills with its poison and then devours. The feces of the clownfish also provides fertilizer to the sea anemone. The clownfish also chases away polyp-eating fish like the Butterfly fish. As the fish actively swims around within the tentacles of the anemone, it increases circulation of water around the polyp. In return, the sea anemone provides protection to the clownfish, as the predators of the fish prefer to steer clear of the venomous tentacles of the sea anemone.

Article: Clownfish and Sea Anemone
Source: Buzzle

The algal and/or cyanobacterial partner(s) possess the green pigment chlorophyll, enabling them to use sunlight’s energy to make their own food from water and carbon dioxide through photosynthesis. They also provide vitamins to the fungus. Cyanobacteria can make amino acids directly from the nitrogen gas in the atmosphere, something neither fungi nor algae can do. The fungus, in turn, protects its partners from drying out and shades them from strong sunlight by enclosing the photosynthesizing partners within the body of the lichen.

Article: Lichens are Fungi
Source: Herbarium

Scientists are attempting to understand how Pompeii worms can withstand such extreme temperatures by studying the bacteria that form a "fleece-like" covering on their backs. Living in a symbiotic relationship, the worms secrete mucous from tiny glands on their backs to feed the bacteria, and in return they are protected by some degree of insulation. The bacteria have also been discovered to be chemolithotrophic, contributing to the ecology of the vent community.

Article: The Pompeii Worm, Alvinel...
Source: Microbial Life