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commensalism

commensalism Situation in nature in which two species live in close association but only one partner benefits. One of the species (the commensal) may gain from increased food supply, or by procuring shelter, support or means of locomotion, but the other (the host) neither gains nor loses from the relationship. For example, silverfish clean the nests of army ants by scavenging on refuse without harming the ants. Commensalism is a type of symbiosis. In the other type, mutualism, both organisms gain from the relationship.

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commensalism

commensalism (kəmĕn´səlĬz´əm), relationship between members of two different species of organisms in which one individual is usually only slightly benefited, while the other member is not affected at all by the relationship. For example, some flatworms live attached to the gills of the horseshoe crab, obtaining bits of food from the crab's meals; the crab is apparently unaffected. In many cases commensalism cannot be distinguished from parasitism (see parasite). See also competition; symbiosis.

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commensalism

commensalism The interaction between species populations in which one species, the commensal, benefits from another, sometimes called the host, but this other is not affected. For example, a hydroid (Hydractinia echinata) living on a whelk shell occupied by a hermit crab is carried by the crab to sites where it can feed, but it does not deprive the crab because the two species have different food requirements. Compare mutualism and parasitism.

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commensalism

commensalism An interaction between species populations in which one species (the commensal) benefits from another (sometimes called the host) that is not affected itself. For example, a hydroid (Hydractinia echinata) living on a whelk shell occupied by a hermit crab is carried by the crab to sites where it can feed but it does not deprive the crab because the two species have different food requirements. Compare MUTUALISM; PARASITISM.

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commensalism

commensalism An interaction between two animal or plant species that habitually live together in which one species (the commensal) benefits from the association while the other is not significantly affected. For example, the burrows of many marine worms contain commensals that take advantage of the shelter provided but do not affect the worm.

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commensalism

com·men·sal·ism / kəˈmensəˌlizəm/ • n. Biol. an association between two organisms in which one benefits and the other derives neither benefit nor harm.

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commensalism

commensalism The interaction between species populations in which one species, the commensal, benefits from another, sometimes called the host, but this other is not affected. Compare MUTUALISM and PARASITISM.

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Commensalism

Commensalism

Commensalism is a type of symbiosis, specifically, a biological relationship in which one species benefits from an interaction, while the host species is neither positively or negatively affected to any tangible degree.

The most classic example of commensalism is that of scavengers, who benefit from predators killing prey in that the remaining scraps provide them with a source of food. The predator, however, is essentially unaffected by the behavior of scavenger cleaning up after it leaves its kill behind.

One type of commensalisms, known as inquilinism, occurs when an organism uses a second organism as a place to live. For example, epiphytic plants (which grow on other plants but are not parasitic) benefit from living on host plants, because the host provides a substrate (base) upon which to grow relatively high in the canopy. The host trees, however, are not affected in any significant way by this relationship. Some plants are specialized as epiphytes, for example, many species of air-plants or bromeliads (family Bromeliaceae), orchids (Orchidaceae), and ferns (Pterophyta). Many lichens, mosses, and liverworts are also epiphytes on trees.

Animal analogues (types or examples) of inquilinism also exist. Some sea anemones (order Actiniaria) benefit by growing on the upper carapace of a hermit crab (crustacean infraorder Anomura) because they are able to filter more water and acquire more food. However, the crab is apparently unaffected by the presence of the sea anemone.

A type of commensal relationship, known as phoresy, is similar to biological hitch-hiking in which one organism benefits through access to transportation while the animal providing this service is not significantly affected by its role. For example, many plants produce fruits that adhere to fur and are thereby dispersed by the movement of mammals. Some North American examples of such animal-dispersed plants are the burdock (Arctium lappa ), beggar-tick or stick-tight (Bidens frondosa ), and tick-trefoil (Desmodium canadense ). The fruits of these plants have special anatomical adaptations for adhering to furin fact, those of the burdock are the botanical model from which the idea for the very useful fastening material known as Velcro was developed.

A third type of commensalism, called metabiosis, describes a situation in which one animal uses something that a second animal has created. For example, some tube worms line their tunnels with shells left behind by clams.

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Commensalism

Commensalism

A type of symbiotic relationship. Many organisms depend on intimate physical relationship with organisms of other species , a relationship called symbiosis . The larger organism is called the host and the smaller organism, the symbiote. The symbiote always derives some benefit from the relationship. In a commensal relationship, the host organism is neither harmed nor benefitted. The relationship that exists between the clown fish living among the tentacles of sea anemones is one example of commensalism. The host sea anemones can exist without their symbiotes, but the fish cannot exist as successfully without the protective cover of the anemone's stinging tentacles.

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Commensalism

Commensalism

Commensalism is a type of symbiosis , specifically, a biological relationship in which one species benefits from an interaction, while the host species is neither positively or negatively affected to any tangible degree.

For example, epiphytic plants (which grow on other plants but are not parasitic) gain an enormous ecological benefit from living on larger plants, because they gain access to a substrate upon which to grow relatively high in the canopy. The host trees, however, are not affected in any significant way by this relationship, even in cases when they are supporting what appears to be a large population of epiphytes. Some plants are specialized as epiphytes, for example, many species of airplants or bromeliads (family Bromeliaceae), orchids (Orchidaceae), and ferns (Pterophyta). Many lichens , mosses, and liverworts are also epiphytes on trees. There are also animal analogues of this relationship. Sometimes sea anemones (order Actiniaria) will gain a benefit in terms of food availability by growing on the upper carapace of a hermit crab (crustacean infraorder Anomura) which is apparently unaffected by the presence of the epiphyte.

Another commensal relationship, known as phoresy, is a type of biological hitch-hiking in which one organism benefits through access to a mode of transportation while the animal providing this service is not significantly affected by its role. For example, many plants produce fruits that adhere to fur and are thereby dispersed by the movement of mammals . Some North American examples of such animal-dispersed plants are the burdock (Arctium lappa), beggar-tick or stick-tight (Bidens frondosa), and tick-trefoil (Desmodium canadense). The fruits of these plants have special anatomical adaptations for adhering to fur-in fact, those of the burdock are the botanical model from which the idea for the very useful fastening material known as velcro was developed. In a few cases, individual animals may become heavily loaded with these sorts of sticky fruits causing their fur to mat excessively, perhaps resulting in a significant detriment. This is not common, however, and usually this biological relationship is truly commensal.

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