Natural Sciences


The symbiosis is that interaction or relationship between members of different species. This relationship can be based on the benefit that it means to one of the two in maintaining that relationship.

It is a biological interaction in which the symbionts have a role as providers or creditors of some other resource. Although in some cases both parties manage to benefit from such a relationship.

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Classification of symbiotic relationships

According to physical location. According to the physical place that the beings involved share.

Based on the length of the relationship. It can be temporary or permanent.

According to the transmission of the host between the hosts. Vertical transmission: when descendants inherit the relationship from their parents. Horizontal transmission: when they acquire it from the environment.

According to the receptivity of the host in the relationship. Mutualism, commensalism and parasitism, where in each one of them one of the beings benefits or affects more than the other.

Types of Symbiosis

  • Mutualism . Both species benefit from each other. There is physical and biochemical contact.
  • Commensalism . One species benefits from the other, but without affecting it negatively or positively.
  • The parasite benefits from its host, while the host is affected by the activity of the parasite.
  • Amensalism . One species is harmed and the other is indifferent to the relationship. It also refers to the fact that two species use the same resource, but another manages to finish it faster.
  • Synecrosis. It is a rare relationship, where both species are destroyed.
  • Ectosymbiosis. One of the beings lives on the body of the other: its fur, its skin or even the beginning of its digestive tract.
  • Endosymbiosis. The host is inside the host’s organism, inside its organs or cells.

Examples of symbiosis

  • Cows and bacteria. The microorganisms inhabit your rumen and other parts of the digestive system. In this way they have co-evolved and formed complex cellulose and other carbohydrate splitting systems, with benefits for both species.
  • Ants and aphids. Some ant species protect the aphids from their predators, in return, the aphids let the ants feed on the honeydew they obtain from the plants.
  • Plants and fungi. 90-95% of land plants benefit from fungi and vice versa. Plants obtain minerals and water from fungi, whereas fungi extract carbohydrates from plants.
  • The woodpecker and the trees. The bird does not significantly affect the trees where it makes the holes.
  • Clown fish and anemones. These fish live among the poisonous tentacles of anemones, unaffected.
  • Parasites and other beings. Several genera such as nematodes, protozoa and bacteria, live in the intestines of living beings and also manage to reproduce there, taking advantage of that organism and affecting its digestive process.

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