Symbiosis: Want Ads for Mutualism
Some organisms live in symbiotic relationships—close associations of two different species. The type of symbiotic relationship in which both organisms benefit is mutualism. One example of mutualism exists between the clown fish and the sea anemone. The anemone provides a habitat and protection for the clown fish, while the clown fish attracts prey for the anemone. In this activity you will write a want ad for a mutualistic relationship. Following is one way a want ad from the clown fish to the sea anemone might read.
Index card; Pencil or pen
- Read the following information about the relationship between the Egyptian plover and the Nile crocodile:
- Birds known as Egyptian plovers live around the Nile River. They feed on parasites that live in the mouths of Nile crocodiles. The consumption of the parasites gives the plovers much-needed food and also relieves the crocodiles of harmful parasites that suck their blood.
- On the index card write a brief want ad from the plover to the crocodile or from the crocodile to the plover.
- How does living with a crocodile benefit an Egyptian plover?
- How does living with an Egyptian plover benefit a crocodile?
- What kind of relationship does the crocodile have with the organisms in its mouth? Explain.
- The Egyptian plover gets food by eating the parasites in the crocodiles.
- The crocodile is freed from blood-sucking parasites.
- The relationship is mutualistic, because both organisms benefit.
Do some research and find more examples of mutualism. Pick an interesting one and write a want ad from one of the animals. See if your classmates can guess the relationship from the want ad.
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