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Difference between Symbiosis and Commensalism

Updated August 25, 2022

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Difference between Symbiosis and Commensalism essay

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A relationship between two or more different species is known as symbiosis. These interactions between the organisms are different from regular interactions because in symbiosis many organisms are involved and species live together. In these relations a specie or species can get benefit or harmed by other species. In many relations one of the two species is benefited. So it could be beneficial or parasitic. Symbiosis can be broken down into two parts. Sym means togather, and bio means life. Two different symbionts may be:

Beneficial (for one or both)

  • Harmful (to one)
  • Neutral (neither is affected). Symbiotic relationships are of two types; Obligate: a relationship between two organisms that cannot survive without each other.

Facultative: In facultative relationship depends upon choice. Symbionts vary in sense that “from one creature living on another” to “one creature living inside another”. Due to this they are categorize as endosymbiosis and ectosymbiosis. Endosymbiosis refers to the relation of an organism inside the host body for example rhizobia , Nitrogen fixing bacteria and in case of ecto an organism relies on the body of a host or outside the host, it is also known as exosymbiosis.

Examples include lice, cleaner fish. Symbiosis is very important in universe. Organisms of different species help each other in many aspects to live a liable life and are benefitted. In these relations one organism must get benefit. For example in mutualism, both organisms get benefit. In commensalism one is benefitted and other is neither benefitted nor harmed.

In parasitism one organism is benefitted and other is harmed or suffers. So there are 3 main types of symbiosis:

  • Mutualism
  • Commensalism
  • Parasitism

Mutualism: Both organisms involved in a relationship benefit from each other. For example Clown fish and sea anemone. Clownfish are small brightly colored fish found often in coral reef. They also found in tentacles of cein enemies which have stinging cells that can kill other fish.

The sea anemone provides protection for clown fish from predators and then clown fish benefit cian enemies by eating algae and cleaning them up. Commensalism: One organism benefits and other is mostly unaffected. For example cattle egret and cows or bulls, Cattle egret like to follow cows or bulls because they stir up the insects from grass, cattle egret eat the insect and cows for the most part are unaffected. Commensalismic relations are of 4 types;

  • Inquilinism A permanent relation of two species is Inquilinism, e.g. small plants that grows on trees.
  • Metabiosis One organism itself creates habitat for others to use, e.g. gastropods leaves their shells and are used by hermits and crabs as home.
  • Phoresy One uses other for transport, e.g. remora uses shark as transport.
  • Microbiota Organism gets benefit by creating communities in their host, i.e. bacteria in the guts of human.

Parasitism: Host is harmed and the other organism gets benefit. Mosquito get food from the host and the host suffers. The mosquito is responsible for the Zika virus and even west Nile virus along with many others. SYMBIOSIS COMMENSALISM A close interaction between two species may be harmful or beneficial. A relationship in which one specie benefits and the other is usually unaffected. Symbiotic relationship may be Mutualistic, commensal or Parasitic. It is a type of symbiotic relationship. Symbiotic organisms may be beneficial or harmful to each other. Commensal organism gets benefit while host is unaffected.

There are main three types;

  • mutualism
  • commensalism
  • Parasitism

There are four types of commensalism;

  • Inquilinism
  • Metabiosis
  • Phoresy
  • Microbiota

All the symbiotic relations are not commensal. All the commensal relations are symbiotic To be successful a symbiotic relationship should be balanced. In case of parasitism where one partner is harmed and other is benefitted is maintained so that host live long and allow parasite to spread and reproduce in them. A commensal may harm its host and then the situation will lead to parasitism. And relation will be parasitic rather than commensal. E.g. lice on human, millipedes and birds Millipedes travelling on birds and hermit crabs using dead gastropods. Symbiosis is very important in universe. Organisms of different species help each other in many aspects to live a liable life and are benefitted.


Difference between Symbiosis and Commensalism essay

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