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Definition - What does Commensalism mean?

Commensalism is a type of symbiotic relationship commonly found in nature that benefits one party without harming the other. The species that benefits from the relationship are known as the commensal and often gains food, shelter or transport from the host species. Often in such a relationship, the commensal is a smaller species benefiting from a larger host species.

Safeopedia explains Commensalism

Commensalism is a type of relationship that involves two different parties where one party benefits while the other remains unaffected. Unlike parasitic relationships, commensalism does not require one party to gain benefits at the expense of the other party. The occurrence of commensalism is fairly common in nature. An example would be the case of the pilot fish’s’ relationship with sharks, turtles and rays. The pilot fish often eat the leftover food that is left unconsumed by the host species.

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