The most interesting relationship off the top of my head is that between a male angler fish and female angler fish. Male angler fish are much smaller than females and when one encounters a female in the sea, he bites onto her and gradually fuses with her body. He literally becomes a part of her and shares the nutrients and oxygen that she obtains as their blood supplies also fuse together. In this relationship, he no longer needs most of his organs so they disintegrate, leaving only his testicles behind. At this point, the female is a hermaphrodite and has a supply of sperm for her eggs when she wants to “mate.”
I really like the symbiosis between the (adorable) bobtailed squid (Euprymna scolopes) and the bioluminescent bacterium Vibrio fischeri. The squid swims at night to find food, and would appear as a dark figure against the star-lit sky when viewed below by a predator. But the bacterium enters the light organ of the squid, giving it camouflage.
This is a very specialized relationship, considering the bacterium is not trapped inside the squid, but must colonize it, and 90% of the bacterial population is squirted out during the day. This bacterium is also the only little organism occupying the light organ of the squid.
A very common but interesting symbiotic relationship occurs at underwater cleaning stations. Cleaner shrimp remove parasite from predatory animals, such as moray eels. The shrimp gains nutrients from the parasite, while the predatory animal loses his parasite, therefore ensuring health. This is unique because the predatory species could easily consume the shrimp for a snack, however years and years of evolutionary relationships have formed mutualism in nature where it is of more use for the larger species to let the ‘cleaners’ live in order to perform a higher function.
[img_assist|nid=193671|title=Cleaner Shrimp and Moray Eel|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=426]
If you think about it, humans are symbiotic with several living creatures. For example, certain bacteria are beneficial to the human stomach. So while the bacteria get to live comfortably in your warm tummy for a while, they also improve your digestion, metabolism, and ability to fight disease. You might know this, if you’re a drinker of Kombucha or other probiotic drinks. Another simple example is that of humans and plants. We are entirely dependent on the oxygen released by plants, while plants are dependent on the carbon dioxide released by humans and animals. I think our relationships to our pets could also be considered symbiotic, as they depend on us for nourishment and protection, and we depend on them for companionship and sometimes for safety.
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