Symbiosis: The word symbiosis comes from two Greek words; sym=together and bios-life. Symbiosis is a biological relationship in which two species live close to each other and have interactions that will usually benefit both organisms but not always.
The four types of symbiosis include commensalism, parasitism, mutualism, and endosymbiosis/ectosymbiosis.
~Commensalism (one-sided) is a type of relationship in which one of the organisms benefits from the symbiosis while the other organism does not necessarily benefit but is not harmed from the relationship either.
~Parasitism is when one organism benefits from the relationship at the expense of the other-i.e. an organism might live inside the body of the other organism or on its surface. This type of symbiosis can result in death for the host.
~Mutualism is symbiosis at its finest! In this relationship, both organisms benefit and many will form long-lasting relationships.
Endosymbiosis is when one organism lives inside another and ectosymbiosis with when one organism lives on the surface of the other.
Apologia biology had more than a few interesting examples of symbiosis but this one by far was the most interesting to me.
The Oriental Sweetlips and the Blue-streaked cleaner wrasse are both fish. One much larger than the other. Many fish, like the Oriental Sweetlips have teeth. Just like with humans, fish need to have their teeth cleaned. That makes sense but how does that happen? So it seems that the Blue-streaked cleaner wrasse will take care of that for the Oriental Sweetlips in return for a little protection.
After eating small fish all day, the Oriental Sweetlips will look around for a specific spot on the coral reef (cleaning station). Then they just swim over to it, open their mouth, and Blue-streaked cleaner wrasse with willingly swim right into the Oriental Sweetlips' mouth and proceed to eat away all of the plaque right off their teeth. So the Oriental Sweetlips get their teeth cleaned and provide protection for the Blue-streaked cleaner wrasse who benefits from the plaque (which is their food source). Mutualism.........so nice!
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