Different Species Living Closely Together

Symbiosis is a type of relationship in which different species (types) of organisms live closely together and play a major role in each other’s daily lives.  There are 3 Types of symbiosis:
(1) Mutualism:
(2) Parasitism
(3) Commensalism

different species (types) of organisms living closely together

20160603d symbiosis
(click to enlarge)

Mutualism is a type of symbiotic relationship in which both species benefit.  An example is oxpecker birds and rhinos.  In this case, the oxpecker birds likes to sit on rhinos’ back and eat the ticks that live on rhinos’ skin.  Therefore, both sides benefit because the birds get to eat ticks, and the rhinos get to get rid of those annoying ticks.

Parasitism is a type of symbiotic relationship in which one side benefits while the other side suffers. An example is ticks and rhinos.  Ticks enjoy the benefit of living on rhinos’ skin and suck rhinos’ blood for food, while rhinos suffer from losing their precious blood.  Therefore, one side benefits while the other side suffers.

Commensalism is a type of symbiotic relationship in one side benefits while the other side receives neither benefit nor harm.  For example, suckerfish like to attach themselves to bigger fish and enjoy a free ride.  The big fish loses nothing and gains nothing from this relationship.  Therefore, one side benefits while the other side…well… just doesn’t care.

Next Generation Science Standards:

MS-LS2-1  Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.

MS-LS2-3  Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.

What Science Does this Comic Teach?

Unit: Anatomy

⇒Chapter: Immunology

⇒Topic: Symbiosis

Additional Information


It is the organism that receives benefit in a parasitic symbiosis.

Host of the Parasite

It is the organism that receives harm in a parasitic symbiosis.

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