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Commensalism and mutualism both describe a symbiotic relationship between two organisms. The main difference lies in whether one or both of the organisms . Symbiosis is broken down into mutualism, commensalism, and parasitism A mutually symbiotic relationship is any relationship between two. Symbiosis is a close relationship between two species in which at least There are three basic types of symbiosis: mutualism, commensalism.
Those animals established a commensal relationship with humans in which the animals benefited but the humans received little benefit or harm. Later, these animals developed closer social or economic bonds with humans and lead to a domestic relationship. From this perspective, animal domestication is a coevolutionary process in which a population responds to selective pressure while adapting to a novel niche that includes another species with evolving behaviors.
Dogs[ edit ] The dog was the first domesticated animal, and was domesticated and widely established across Eurasia before the end of the Pleistocenewell before the cultivation of crops or the domestication of other animals. The wolves more likely drawn to human camps were the less-aggressive, subdominant pack members with lowered flight response, higher stress thresholds, and less wary around humans, and therefore better candidates for domestication.
Difference between Mutualism and Commensalism | Biology Dictionary
In contrast, cats may have become fully dependent on a commensal lifestyle before being domesticated by preying on other commensal animals, such as rats and mice, without any human provisioning. Debate over the extent to which some wolves were commensal with humans prior to domestication stems from debate over the level of human intentionality in the domestication process, which remains untested. Although these two populations spend a period of the year in the same place, and though there was evidence of gene flow between them, the difference in prey—habitat specialization has been sufficient to maintain genetic and even coloration divergence.
The skull shape, tooth wear, and isotopic signatures suggested these remains were derived from a population of specialist megafauna hunters and scavengers that became extinct while less specialized wolf ecotypes survived. Summary of the differences between mutualism and commensalism Meaning Mutualism— involves a symbiotic relationship between two or more organisms and it is mutually beneficial.
The organisms involved are dependent on each other for their survival.
This relationship promotes the life of the other. Commensalism- in contrast, this commensalism involves a symbiotic relationship that benefits only one organism but the other one is unharmed. The host organism can survive on its own since it does not require any form of support from the other species. Occurrence Mutualism- depending on the nature of organisms involved, contact between them can be short term based like the example of bees and flowers.
It can also be long term such as the digestive system of human beings and bacteria. Commensalism- this symbiotic relationship can be continuous as illustrated by the example of trees that provide permanent shelter to epiphytic plants which grow on them. When the epiphytic plants are not removed they will permanently stay on the trees as their host organisms.
Difference between Mutualism and Commensalism
Nature of relationship Mutualism- the relationship between two or more partners involved is obligatory. Each partner needs the existence of the other organism in the relationship for survival.
In other words, the relationship is mutually inclusive implying that these organisms are dependent on each other for their survival. Commensalism- the relationship between two or more organisms involved is not obligatory. This means that the other organism in the relationship can survive without the other. Examples Mutualism- the association between flowers and bees illustrates a mutually beneficial relationship. Bees require flowers for food while flowers also require bees to facilitate pollination, a process that is crucial in plant growth and development.
The relationship between bacteria and human digestive system is another good example that is beneficial to both species. Commensalism- a good example involves millepedes travelling on birds or hermit crabs seeking shelter from dead gastropods.
Host organisms do not benefit in the association formed. Conclusion In conclusion, it can be observed that both mutualism and commensalism constitute symbiotic relationships among different living organisms in the ecosystem but these relationships significantly differ in many ways. These relationships are mainly influenced by the need to obtain food, transport, shelter as well as other forms of support like shelter.
Essentially, the main difference between these two symbiotic relationships pertains to the aspect benefits likely to be obtained from them. As noted, both organisms in mutualistic relationship benefit from the association that exists between them. However, in commensalistic relationship, only one organism benefits from the association.
Notably, the organism that does not benefit is not harmed by the association.
Commensalism or mutualism: conditional outcomes in a branchiobdellid-crayfish symbiosis.
For example, hermit crabs use the abandoned shells of other creatures like sea snails to protect themselves. Other commensal relationships exist in nature such as when birds build a nest in a tree. The birds benefit from having a home, protection and a place to raise their young, but the tree is unaffected. The image above shows the mutualistic relationship between bees and flowers.
The bees benefit from the pollen and nectar they gather from the flowers and the flowers benefit by the bees transporting their pollen and pollinating other flowers. The image above shows commensalism between some shark species and pilot fish. Pilot fish will feed on the leftovers in the water after the shark makes a kill, while the shark remains unaffected by this behavior.