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Word of the Week: Symbiosis
June 08, 2019 by Khadoni Chambers

Welcome to Word of the Week! Stay tuned for a new word each Friday to amp up your nature vocabulary!

Red Admiral Butterfly

Symbiosis [sim-bahy-OH-seez] (noun): A relationship between two or more organisms that live closely together. These organisms could both be plants, animals, or a mix of multiple.

There exist three main types of symbiosis, these include parasitism, mutualism, and commensalism. Parasitism refers to the relationship where one organism benefits from the interaction and the other is harmed. Commensalism is when one organism benefits and the other is left unharmed, and mutualism is when both organisms benefit from the interaction. Examples of each include a leach latched onto aquatic animals, a clown fish living amongst anemone, or a remora eating scraps and parasites while hitching a ride on a shark.

In High Park, we also have many plants and animals that live in symbiosis. For example, our resident pollinators such as bees, and butterflies have a symbiotic relationship with the plants that they visit. The insects are given nectar and pollen to feed on in exchange for spreading the plants genetic material to a new flower, thus allowing the plant to reproduce.

On your next High Park visit, take a moment to look closely and notice all of the symbiotic relationships happening around you!

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