Ecological Relationships: Symbiosis. There are three main types of symbiosis, based upon the specific relationship between the species involved: mutualism , mutual benefit to the interdependent organisms
Small birds like this sparrow (left) make their homes beneath
the nests of a large, fish-eating osprey. The presence of the
fierce osprey provides protection for the little birds.
In Africa, the honey guide bird lives in a mutualistic relationship with a
furry animal called a ratel. The bird loves to eat beeswax, but is too small
to break into a bee’s nest easily. The ratel likes honey but cannot always
find a supply on its own. The honey guide locates a bee’s nest and chirps
loudly for the ratel. With its sharp claws, the ratel rips the nest open and
shares a feast with the honey bird.
The relationship between these water buffaloes and tickbirds
is an example of mutualism. The tickbirds feed on tiny insects
they pluck from the hide of the buffalo. The buffalo protect
the birds and are freed from their parasites.
The dodder plant lives by
obtaining all its food from
host plants, such as clover
and alfalfa. Wrapping its
stem around the host plant,
the dodder pushes its
sucker into its host. Then it
releases itself completely
from the soil and stays
attached to the host plant for
support and food.