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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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