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Symbiotic Relationships
3 Main Types
p. 111
• Symbiosis—is a close relationship between
two species in which at least one of the
species benefits.
Mutualism + +
• Both species benefit. + +
(Benefit means to be helped.)
• Examples-bat in saguaro cactus
• Ants in acacia trees
• Oxpeckers on hippo
Commensalism + neither
(+ means benefits or is helped)
• One species benefits and the other species is
neither helped nor harmed. + neither
• Examples-hawk and saguaro cactus
• Not very common because usually some
harm is done. Example-hole in cactus for
owl nest.
Parasitism + • One organism lives on or inside another organism
and harms it. + • The organism that benefits is the parasite. +
• The organism that it lives on or in is called a host. –
• Examples-fleas, ticks, leeches, tapeworms
• Parasite does not usually kill host. If host dies, the
parasite loses its source of food.
Which type of symbiotic relationship
is this?
Bee in flower
Which type of symbiotic relationship
is this?
Bird in Nest
Which type of symbiotic relationship
is this?
Lichen growing on rocks—
lichen is a fungus and an
algae growing together
Which type of symbiotic relationship
is this?
Fungus growing on wheat
Which type of symbiotic relationship
is this?
• An example of mutual symbiosis is the relationship
between clownfish of the genus Amphiprion (family,
Pomacentridae) that dwell among the tentacles of
tropical sea anemones. The territorial fish protects the
anemone from anemone-eating fish, and in turn the
stinging tentacles of the anemone protects the anemone
fish from its predators (a special mucus on the
anemone fish protects it from the stinging tentacles).
• Some goby fish species live in symbiosis with a shrimp.
• Another example is the goby fish, which sometimes
lives together with a shrimp. The shrimp digs and
cleans up a burrow in the sand in which both the
shrimp and the goby fish live. The shrimp is almost
blind leaving it vulnerable to predators when above
ground. In case of danger the goby fish touches the
shrimp with its tail to warn it of imminent danger.
When that happens both the shrimp and goby fish
quickly retract into the burrow.
Bacteria in gut of cow
Burs in animal fur
Ichneumons lay eggs on eggs/larvae
of other insects
Microscopic organisms live inside
Threadworms infect sheep intestine
Dodder plant winds around another
plant and forms roots into the plant
A remora attaches to a shark
Barnacles on a whale
Ants herd aphids
Orchids grow on other plants for
Mistletoe growing on oak tree
Bacteria in human digestive tract
Symbiotic Relationship Poster
• Create a poster of two fictitious species
(plant, animal or microorganism)
Draw a picture to fill the poster.
Title the poster with the assigned type of
symbiotic relationship.
Write on the poster a description of each of the
Describe how the two species interact in the
symbiotic relationship and tell where they live.