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simone54's avatar

What are some interesting symbiotic relationships in nature?

Asked by simone54 (7595points) April 6th, 2010

It can be anything… Animal and Animal, Animal and Plant, Plant and plant…. anything.

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36 Answers

MrGV's avatar

It’s not exactly nature, but here’s something interesting…

ninjacolin's avatar

boyfriends and girlfriends.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

One that is particularly interesting is that of the Yucca plant, and Yucca Moth. Most plant species can be pollinated by many types of insects, or birds, but Yucca plants are different. There is one single species of moth that is the sole pollinator for the Yucca plant. The moth crawls down inside the ovary of Yucca plants to lay eggs after mating. By doing so, she collects pollen grains, and as she travels to the next Yucca plant, it is pollinated. No other insect species can pollinate Yucca plants, just this one particular species of moth. In some places, people have added Yucca to their gardens, and have hoped to establish a healthy Yucca populations, but are unable to do so in the absence of the Yucca moth.
I find that pretty interesting. GQ.

faye's avatar

What about the birds that live on hippos, or the little fish that swim with sharks?

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

I like the clown fish that hang out inside sea anemones.
The fish chases off other fish that would feed off the anemone while the clownfish gets to hide from potential predators amongst the anemone’s tendrils. The anemone benefits from the fish’s feces.
Cool stuff.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

I guess the obvious is honeybees and flowers.

loser's avatar

Would pizza and beer count?

davidbetterman's avatar

Remora fish and sharks

mattbrowne's avatar

The mitochondria powering our cells.

nebule's avatar

@loser you funny!! love that!!

unfortunately I have nothing to offer at this time….

janbb's avatar

Spoons and ice cream containers

aprilsimnel's avatar

The relationship between humans and dogs is symbiotic.

CMaz's avatar


LuckyGuy's avatar

Politicians and radio talk show hosts.

DarkScribe's avatar

Trolls and keyboards?

El_Cadejo's avatar

Pistol Shrimp and Watchmen Gobies The pistol shrimp is effectively blind but has a very powerful claw that when snapped shut actually vaporizes the water and is said to be close to the heat of the sun for a split second. The goby on the other hand has no real defense. So the two bond up and generally dig a little burrow. The goby acts as the eyes and the shrimp defends the home.

Clownfish and Anemones – Anemone provides protection to the clownfish in return for the clownfish feeding and caring for the anemone.

Porcelain Crab and Anemones pretty much same as the clownfish except the crab doesnt so much provide food as it does protection.

Cleaner Wrasse and many fish. The wrasse will eat any kinds of parasites off the animals. There are some asshole fish that take advantage of this relationship. They look just like cleaner wrasse so fish will allow them to get close expecting to get cleaned but the impostor instead just bites the fish.

Cleaner shrimp – same deal as above.

Acropora Crab and Acropora Coral The coral provides a safe home to the crab while in return the crab will keep the coral clean and free of algae that could smother it. The crab will also fight off predators like crown of thorn starfish that would otherwise devour the coral.

Deep sea fish and bioluminescent bacteria Bioluminescence provides a whole array of possibilities to the fish down below. Be it to attract pray like anglers do; quickly escape in a cloud of bio luminescence to confuse like small shrimp; or simply mimic the sunlight above like hatchet fish employ.

Pom Pom crab and Anemones The pom pom crab carries around one small anemone in each claw. The anemones are used as a weapon by the crab to ward off potential predators. In return, the anemone is able to travel a lot faster and farther being exposed to more food.

Squat lobsters and venomous urchins The urchins dont really get anything from this relationship, but the tiny lobster (that is actually a shrimp) hides among its spines for protection

Decorator crabs these crabs will attach live coral and sponge to their shells for camouflage. Like the pom pom crab’s anemone, these sponges and coral are now stationary and get exposed to more food.

Zooxanthellae algae and Coral – The algae is given a safe place to grow inside the coral and in return it provides 90% of the corals food. This algae is also the reason why coral is so brightly colored.

Mastigias papua Jellyfish and Zooxanthellae algae Like coral, the jellyfish uses the algae that resides inside of it as food.

I tried to stick to relationships that exhibited either mutualism and commensalism but we’ll end on a parasite cause its pretty bitchin

Cymothoa exigua and fish cymothoa exigua is a small isopod parasite. It eats the tongue off the fish and then attaches itself in place. From that point on whenever the fish eats, the isopod gets a bit for himself. Talk about an easy meal.

I feel like there are a million more ocean examples I know that I cant think of right now.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Lichens – Fungi and algae. No surprise there. There’s probably some in your back yard right now on a rock.

semblance's avatar

My guess is that there aren’t many country dwellers on fluther. We have two horses and in the summer a species of bird known as a “cowbird” will light on the horses back and gobble up the bugs that come by to bother the horses. Sometimes I will see 4 or 5 of the little guys on a horse’s back. The horses don’t seem to mind and they get the benefit of the birds reducing the ambient amount of irritating bugs. The birds do, uh, crap on the horses a bit, but not that much.

CodePinko's avatar

Liberal politicians and those with a victim/ entitlement mentality.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

It’s amazing how many people neglected the nature part of the question.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities isnt it? I thought this question was awesome but it seems me you and a few others are the only ones who gave legitimate answers…..

janbb's avatar

@jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities I figured a number of goodanswers had been given so I was just ahving fun with mine.

CodePinko's avatar

It’s all nature hon’.

Draconess25's avatar

Cats & dogs; They’re always regarded as enemies, but they keep each other sharp by posing a challenge. That’s a benefit for both of them.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

Democrats and Republicans

CodePinko's avatar

Republicans could function just fine in a world without liberals.
One can dream.

lloydbird's avatar

People and Planet.

faye's avatar

@lloydbird That might be parasitic!

CodePinko's avatar

Nice rare positive pro-human response @lloydbird Lurve.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@faye but parasite is still a form of symbiosis. :P And yea, its definitely a parasitic relationship. We take, but what do we give back?

simone54's avatar

I haven’t laughed at one of these stupid joke answers.

simone54's avatar


nebule's avatar

Me and Theo

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

sadists and masochists

Draconess25's avatar

@py_sue What if you’re both?

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