Examples of commensalism shark and remora fish relationship

Blacktip Reef Shark - Interactions

examples of commensalism shark and remora fish relationship

The symbiosis relationship between them is a commensalism relationship because the remora is getting its food and the shark gets no benefit. Symbiosis occurs when two organisms live together, and usually become dependant and cope with their environment, check out these examples of symbiosis in action: Why would a small fish purposely buddy up with a shark? Since both the shark and remora benefit from this relationship the shark. Below are some examples of mutualistic relationships. Mutualism in Sharks and Remora Fish: Remora are small fish that can attach to sharks Bacteria in mutualistic symbiosis with humans provide protection against other.

We are moving beyond mutually beneficial relationships and into more one-sided affairs. The next four stories I share will all be examples of commensalism, a relationship between two species in which one derives a benefit and the effect on the other is neutral.

As I mentioned in my first mutualism storyall of the symbiotic relationships that I talk about this season have to be understood in an evolutionary context. However, commensalism is conceptually more difficult to grasp than mutualism. Part of this is because there is still substantial disagreement in the scientific community about whether such relationships truly exist at all. There is some merit to the idea that no close interaction between species can be entirely neutral for one partner.

Thus, commensal relationships would instead be examples of more subtle mutualism or parasitism.

examples of commensalism shark and remora fish relationship

Even if they do exist as described, the evolutionary drive toward commensalism would not be as powerful as that of mutualism. While one species gains an evolutionary benefit, there is no particular reason for the other to work to maintain the relationship.

However, if the effects are truly neutral, there is also no benefit for discouraging the relationship either. Because there are few consequences for the neutral party in either direction, commensal organisms are also likely to be generalists, since they are not evolving in concert with their hosts like in a mutualistic relationship.

This generalism is seen in our first example: The fish pictured above is a remora, a group of eight species spread over three genera. This small taxonomic family of saltwater fish would be unremarkable if it were not for their distinctive adaptations for commensal symbiosis. The first dorsal fin the fin on the back closest to the head has been modified into an oval-shaped sucker, with slat-like structures that allow the fish to attach to larger organisms using suction.

In fact this particular individual fish, a resident at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, was my inspiration for choosing the topic of symbiosis for this season. They will attach to whales and dolphins, sharks and rays, or any other large fish or reptile they can find. The remora at Shedd most commonly attaches itself to the sea turtle in its tank. The individual sea turtle is also interesting because it does not have full control of its buoyancy.

Carcharhinus melanopterus

There is an air pocket in the rear of its shell that makes that part rise up above the head. What benefit does the remora get out of this relationship? By attaching to a larger organism it reduces the energy required for transport and ventilation of its gills for breathing.

Mutualism, Parasitism, and Commensalism Organisms interact with each other in a variety of ways.

Remora - Wikipedia

These interactions can be cooperative, antagonistic, defensive, reciprocal, harmful, communal, opportunistic, beneficial, or neutral. Symbioses encapsulate the relationships that different species of organisms have with each other: These interactions typically fall into one of three categories: Some symbioses are obligate necessary ; this means that the organisms depend on each other for their survival.

In many cases this co-dependency has occurred over time as each organism adapts to the benefits of depending on each other. Other symbioses are facultative, which means that they are not absolutely necessary for the survival of either organism.

Symbiosis in the animal kingdom. Mutualism, commensalism & parasitism

Some symbiotic relationships are timeless, and species-specific examples persist in the biological literature. Some of these include clownfish and sea anemones, fleas and dogs, and sharks and remoras.

examples of commensalism shark and remora fish relationship

Facultative symbioses are more loosely-associated relationships and not always formally recognized. For example, there are many tiny insects that live in bird nests. These insects consume waste that the birds produce, keeping the nest clean and decreasing the chance for the build-up of bacteria and disease, they get a free meal from the birds and the birds get free house-cleaning services.

These types of interactions are indirect and occur in nature in various capacities, many times going unrecognized.

Examples of Commensalism

Ectosymbiosis occurs when symbionts members of the symbiotic relationship interact with each other in an open environment, like hummingbirds and trumpet flowers. Endosymbiosis occurs when one symbiont lives within the body of another, which is the case with internal parasites like liver flukes and tapeworms.

There is a little bit of contention as to what the idea of symbiotic relationships actually encompasses. Some scientists believe that symbioses should only describe persistent interactions among organisms that remain over time. Others feel that any type of interactions fall into this category.

Mutualism A mutualistic relationship is one in which both organisms benefit from interacting with each other.