Natural Sciences

15 Examples of Commensalism

In nature there are links between species that many times we do not see with the naked eye or we do not take the time to analyze. The symbiosis is the term generalizes this biological interaction and comprises:

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  • Mutualism , commensalism and parasitism .

What is commensalism?

Commensalism occurs when a member of one species benefits from another, while that other neither benefits nor is harmed.

In other words, commensalism is a type of interaction between species of different types in which only one of those who interact takes all the benefits, taking advantage of the resources of another species.

Types of commensalism

Among the different forms of presentation of commensalism we have:

  • Foresis . It is when a smaller species takes advantage of a larger one to be transferred from one place to another, without the second having any physical or other problems. In fact, some species will not even know that they are transporting others.
  • Tenancy . One species harbors another, from inside or outside, to protect itself or feed itself.
  • Metabiosis . When scavengers take advantage of a waste of another species for various purposes.

Examples of commensalism

  • Birds and trees: when these animals build nests to live among the branches.
  • The distribution of seeds by some plants when the ants have killed some of other species.
  • The woodpecker and the trees, which build their nests by piercing the bark and trunks.
  • Vultures, which take advantage of the waste of other animals, as well as their carcasses to feed themselves.
  • The flies that lay their eggs on dead animals, so that their larvae can feed and grow.
  • Some types of insects that live in the burrows of voles, feeding on the roots that protrude from the roof of the burrow.
  • The apes and the trees: they use the branches to transport and feed themselves.
  • Crabs that use snail shells to live and at the same time as a protection tool.
  • Bees and trees, when they make honeycombs on trees.
  • Some furry animals walk or crawl near plants, removing their branches, seeds, or fruits.
  • Methanotrophic bacteria that feed on methane from methanogenic archaea.
  • Herons that eat near flocks of ungulates, because they disperse the insects that they feed on.
  • The anemones that use some mussel shells, without causing them any harm.
  • The remoras that sharks use to transport themselves, without causing them problems.
  • The dung beetles that take advantage of the excrement of other species that is not useful for those species.

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