5 amazing symbiotic animal relationships you didn't know about | From the Grapevine
Oxpeckers eat the parasites off of large animals like this African buffalo. Natphotos/Digital Vision/Getty Images. The traditional definition of symbiosis is a mutually beneficial relationship involving close physical contact between two. Different animals species help each other hunt, clean and protect themselves from predators. (Photo: njsphotography/Shutterstock) . "It's the most developed, co-evolved, mutually helpful relationship between any mammal. The term mutualism refers to a relationship in biology or sociology that is mutually beneficial to two living things. This relationship can be within the species.
Some biologists, however, consider any interspecies relationship involving frequent close contact to be symbiosis, regardless of which of the organisms benefits. This includes commensalism, in which one organism benefits and the other isn't affected much at all, and parasitism, in which one organism benefits and the other is harmed.
In this article we're going to focus on mutually beneficial symbiosis. There are several forms of symbiosis. In some instances, the organisms require the symbiotic relationship in order to survive. This is known as obligate symbiosis. In other cases, the symbiotic relationship gives each organism a greater chance of survival but isn't absolutely necessary. This is known as facultative symbiosis. Symbiotic relationships aren't always symmetrical -- they can be obligate for one organism and facultative for the other.
The "close physical contact" part of the definition is worth looking at more closely. In most cases, it's fairly straightforward -- one organism may make its home directly on another organism's body, or even live inside it. At times, they will pass up eating a tick if it is not filled with blood a main nutrient for the bird.
Sea anemones will hitchhike on the backs of hermit crabs, providing the anemones with a lift over the seabed. But what does the crab get out of this relationship? The sea anemone protects the hermit crab from hungry octopuses. Furthermore, crabs help fend off creatures in the mood for a sea anemone snack. Crabs will intentionally seek out anemones to place on their backs. In fact, when the hermit crab changes shells, it will poke the anemones with its pincers and reattach them to its back.
Boxer crabs also engage in symbiosis with sea anemones, but their relationship is an especially interesting one. The boxer crab holds the sea anemones in its claws like pom-pom boxing gloves.
10 Bizarre Animal Symbiotic Relationships
The warthogs are given a grooming while the sharp-toothed mongooses pick off insects and especially ticks. Hence, the mongoose gets a meal and the warthog gets clean.Animal partnerships - David Attenborough - BBC wildlife
After drifting into a reef area set up as a cleaning station, fish—such as parrotfish, damselfish, and even sharks —will assume a specific pose that tells the cleaner fish that it is safe to approach.
Then the cleaner fish begin their scrumptious buffet of the parasites, mucus, and dead tissues from their client fish. If the cleaner fish becomes too aggressive and nibbles too much tissue or mucus, the symbiotic relationship can be terminated by the larger client fish.
The best-known cleaner fish are the cleaner wrasses that live among the coral reefs of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. These fish often showcase their bright blue stripes, making them highly visible to larger fish that need a cleaning.
After a meal, a crocodile will walk onto the riverbank, find a cozy spot, and sit with its mouth wide open. Plovers aid in cleaning the mouths of their huge crocodilian clients.
Therefore, the tiny birds get a free meal and the crocodile gets a free dental checkup and cleaning. Not a bad arrangement! If the bird encounters or senses danger from another animal while snacking within the crocodilian jaws, the plover shrieks a warning call and then flies away.
10 Bizarre Animal Symbiotic Relationships - Listverse
Yes, you heard that right, coyotes and badgers work together! How does this arrangement work? The larger coyote chases prey on the prairie or grassland.
The badgerhowever, hides in the burrows of prey, such as ground squirrels or prairie dogs, to grab them as they return home. So, the coyote gets the prey if it tries to escape aboveground and the badger snatches the prey if it tries to hide underground. Although only one of the predators leaves with a meal, much research on the relationship shows that the collaborative effort of these animals increases the chances of getting food for both hunters.
Badgers and coyotes eat the same things and naturally compete with each other for food.
5 amazing symbiotic animal relationships you didn't know about
So the badger-coyote alliance aids in hunting them. A few coyotes may congregate in loose assemblages, but most lead solitary lives as they rarely hunt in packs. Interestingly, the badger is an even more solitary creature, making its partnership with the coyote even more bizarre.
Research has suggested that coyotes that partner with badgers catch around one-third more prey than lone coyotes. As roommates, these two very different creatures uphold a clean and clear symbiotic relationship.
With its excellent eyesight, the goby easily spots predators and repays the little shrimp by alerting it to danger so it can hide. Hence, the fish and shrimp become roommates, sharing a mini underwater cave with each other. Since pistol shrimp are mostly blind, the shrimp tells the goby when it is leaving the home to find a snack.