Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentines Day Theme: Mutualistic Relationships!

Clown fish and Sea anemone.

Most animals cannot even touch sea anemone tentacles because they would get a painful sting. But clownfish have a special coating of mucus on their body, so they can happily live right in between the tentacles.The fish is protected by the tentacles and in return, the cute fishy scares away butterfly fish, which would eat the sea anemone.

Impala with cute little birdies.

Here is another cute relationship. The birds eat ticks from the body of the Impala. The bird gets food and the Impala is cleaned of parasites!

Coral polyps and algae (zooxanthellae).
Another underwater example of mutualism involves coral polyps (a bunch of organisms that form corals) and zooxanthellae (a little tiny algae). The zooxanthellae live inside the coral polyps. The zooxanthellae photosynthesize (makes sugar from light!) while the coral polyps hunt animals. The zooxanthellae give plant-based energy to the coral, while the coral gives animal-based food to the zooxanthellae!

Bumblebee and flower!

 Fuzzy little bumblebees help flowers pollinate. When they drink nectar from the middle of flowers, they get tiny bits of pollen stuck to their fuzz. When they fly to another flower, some of the pollen falls off and that flower can then have baby flowers!

Lichen on rocks!


Lichen are actually two organisms: a fungus and photosynthetic creature (like algae).  The fungus can get food from the algae and the algae gets a very special home. Lichen can grow on rocks because of their amazing relationship!

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