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Spectacular Symbiosis!

Spectacular Symbiosis!

A variety of intelligent associations exist among the millions of organisms that live on planet Earth. One such spectacular relationship is called symbiosis in which two different species form a mutually-benefitting and sometimes not-so-mutually benefitting relationship to survive. Here are some examples of symbiotic associations in nature!

Pink coral mushrooms

Photo: Abhishek Jain.

These striking pink coral mushrooms grow on tree roots. They provide vital soil nutrients to the trees in exchange for sugars.

Monkey and chital

Photo: Dhanu Paran.

In India’s wildernesses, monkeys and chital usually stay close to warn each other of predators lurking nearby.


 Photo: Dr. Anish Andheria.

Such strangely-shaped growths on leaves known as galls usually occur because of various insect species that lay their eggs inside.

Weaver ants and treehoppers

Photo: Vedwati Padwal.

Weaver ants take very good care of and protect horned treehoppers in return for the sweet honey dew they excrete.

Cleaner wrasse and moray eel

Photo: Christopher Metcalf.

The tiny cleaner wrasse feeds on microscopic parasites on the moray eel’s body, thus benefiting tting both.

Cattle Egrets, mynahs and rhino

Photo: Manas Paran.

Cattle Egrets and mynas help the rhino by getting rid of the ticks on its body in return for a lip-smacking tick meal.

Sea anemone and crab

Photo: Digant Desai.

The venomous tentacles of the sea anemone provide a safe home for the crab.

Clownfish and sea anemone

Photo: Dheeraj Nanda.

The clownfish helps the anemone stay clean and its bright colours lures the anemone’s prey!

Crow and sambar

Photo: Sarabjit Lehal. 

The opportunistic crow feeds on ticks and other parasites on the body of the sambar, helping it stay clean.

First appeared in: Sanctuary Asia, Vol. XXXVII, No. 3, March 2017. 


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