Mutualistic symbiosis, also known as mutualism, is a scientific concept that refers to long-term, mutually beneficial relationships between two organisms.
A common example: the relationship between flowers and their pollinators — like bees. Bees gather pollen and nectar from flowers for their own use. They also spread the flower’s pollen far and wide, helping it reproduce.
The sea anemone offers the clownfish a safe home. In return, the clownfish cleans the anemone, provides nutrients through its waste, and scares off predators. This relationship helps the clownfish avoid the anemone’s stinging tentacles.
Ants and aphids survive on plant stalks by lending each other a helping hand. The ants guard aphids against predators. Meanwhile, the aphids extract food from the plant, producing a sugary waste called “honeydew” for the ants to eat.
Some cattle birds, like the tyrant (also known as “cleaner birds”), catch pesky horseflies bothering the capybara. The tyrant also gets a nice perch on the capybara’s back, which they use to their advantage when hunting.