When many people hear the word ‘symbiosis’, their initial reaction is to reach for a dictionary. When they do so, they will see that it is defined as ‘interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both.’ Mother Nature’s ability to promote and sustain symbiotic relationships is essential to the very existence and survival of all forms of life on our planet.
Think of the little oxpecker bird which can often be seen hitching a ride on the backs of the rhinoceros or zebra. The bird feasts on the parasites which plague the animals, thus helping to keep them free of disease.
In return for his meal he also provides ‘in-house security’ for his hosts by flying into the air and screaming a warning in the event of danger.
Or how about the symbiotic relationship that the hermit crab has with the sea anemone? The sea anemone attaches itself to the shell of the crab, and gets transported along the sea floor collecting food. In return, the anemone’s stinging tentacles provide protection to the crab.