SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIPS

Examples





Definition:

Symbiosis is a close ecological relationship between the individuals of two (or more) different species.   Sometimes a symbiotic relationship benefits both species, sometimes one species benefits at the other's expense, and in other cases neither species benefits.

Ecologists use a different term for each type of symbiotic relationship:

Mutualism

  --   both species benefit

Commensalism

  --   one species benefits, the other is unaffected

Parasitism

  --   one species benefits, the other is harmed

Competition

  --   neither species benefits

Neutralism

  --   both species are unaffected


The following table illustrates the correct use of these terms in interactions between Species "A" and Species "B".
"+" denotes benefit to the species
"0" denotes no positive or negative effect
"-" denotes an undesirable effect of the interaction.

Species "A"

+

Parasitism

Commensalism

Mutualism

 

Neutralism

Commensalism

Competition

 

Parasitism

0

-

   

  -

  0

  +

Species "B"





Examples of Symbiotic Relationships in Insects:

Nutritional Symbiosis:
  • Ambrosia beetles       (webpage by Katy)       (webpage by Alex)
  • Termite fungus gardens
  • Parasol ants       (webpage by Heidi)
  • Cockroach endosymbionts

  • Shelter Symbiosis:
  • Ant mimics (inquilines)
  • Slavemaker ants       (webpage by Ken)
  • Gall insects

  • Transport Symbiosis:
  • Torsalo (Human bot flies)
  • Scelionid wasps

  • Pollination Symbiosis:       (webpage by Mary)
  • Nectar guides
  • Bottle gentians
  • Dung beetles and skunk cabbage
  • Yucca moths       (webpage by Marcia)
  • Bumblebees and scotch broom
  • Fig wasps       (webpage by Leiana)
  • Pseudocopulation in orchids       (webpage by Caroline)

  • Defensive Symbiosis       (webpage by Shannon)
  • Ants and acacias       (webpage by Bethany)
  • Aphid farmers       (webpage by Maya)
  • Mimicry and Crypsis       (webpage by Okema)
  • Good Buddies Webpage by Katie

    Tomato Hornworm Webpage by Laura

    Return to ENT 525 HomePage John R. Meyer
    Last Updated:   30 December 2013 Department of Entomology
    NC State University