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Mutualism

     A symbiotic relationship that is beneficial to both organisms is called mutualism. This is a relationship in which both organisms depend on each other and in which both benefit from the arrangement. This is also called a give-and-take relationship. In this kind of relationship, both organisms cannot live without the other.

     Some examples of organisms that have this kind of relationship are:

     a. Lichens which consist of fungi and algae

 

Fungi – can hold water but cannot reproduce their own food

Algae – cannot hold water but can produce their own food

When they live together, each has enough water and food.

 

     b. Clown fish and sea anemone in a coral reef

 

An aquarium display of Indo-Pacific sea anemones. Two brightly colored anemone fish can be seen venturing from their refuge among the tentacles of the anemones.

 

The clown fish attracts prey to the stinging tentacles of the sea anemone

The clown fish receives shelter from its predators, in return.

 

     c. Thorn acacia and a species of ant

 

The thorn acacia’s leaves secrete a rich solution that the ants drink.

The ants attacks vines or other plants that grow near the acacia. They also sting intruding insects.

 

 

Earth and water, if not blatantly abused, can be made to produce again and again for the benefit of all.. The key is wise stewardship.

~Stewart L. Udall