Symbiotic relationship in the amazon rainforest

Mutualism - Rainforest Plants and Animals Working Together

symbiotic relationship in the amazon rainforest

Plants and animals can often work together in some surprising ways to help each other out. This process is called mutualism and it is seen in rainforests. There are innumerable instances of symbiotic interactions in rainforests, Plants and butterflies: Certain Passifloraceae plants have odd relationships with. With such biodiversity, this biome is the best bet when it comes to study of symbiotic relationships between different organisms.

These Symbiotic Relationships in the Rainforest are Truly Remarkable

Other ant species utilize instead vegetation, flowers, insect remains, or discarded matter such as dead grass. The fungi normally contain insecticides as a defense mechanism, but when in the garden, they degrade these toxic compounds, removing them from the fungal tissue eaten by the ants.

symbiotic relationship in the amazon rainforest

Recently, it has been realized that the ant-fungal association is even more complex. But when the garden is stressed, or if the ants are removed, the Escovopsis fungi explode in numbers and overwhelm the fungal garden.

These Symbiotic Relationships in the Rainforest are Truly Remarkable

Then the ant population will decline due to lack of food, at least until another garden can be established. It appears that still other compounds produced by the ants may act to inhibit the growth of alien bacteria and fungi which might invade the garden, although the exact roles of these secretions are not yet known Ariniello, ; Currie, Certain Passifloraceae plants have odd relationships with Heliconiine butterflies. The butterflies lay their eggs on the tips of the plant shoots which the caterpillars like to eat.

When there are no eggs on the shoots, the plant produces yellow nectaries which mimic eggs, or other structures stipules which look like young caterpillars. Very common are highly specific relationships between a pollinator species and a plant, such as those between figs and their wasp pollinators.

Symbiotic Relationships in the Rain Forest | Sciencing

Figs are dioecious, that is, they have separate male and female plants. The male dies, and the female wasp leaves the fruit, picking up pollen from the male flower within the fig. She then flies to another tree which has young figs, and enters a fruit.

symbiotic relationship in the amazon rainforest

If the fig is female, and contains female flowers, pollen on her body will fertilize them; seeds will subsequently form. The wasp grub developing from this egg consumes the ovary of the gall flower and develops into an adult wasp.

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And so the cycle repeats itself. Termites and pitcher plants: Flesh-eating is common among animals, rare among plants. Among the best-known of the carnivorous plants are the pitcher plants, which drown insects and other very small prey in their pitchers. The Southeast Asian pitcher plant, Nepenthes albomarginata, like some animals, has a distinct preference for what it eats — it likes termites.

The leaf cutter ants cut small pieces off leaves in the jungle and take them underground into their tunnels. They create small chambers where they store the leaf cuttings.

Fungus grows on the leaves and the ants use bits of the fungus to feed their young. Through the symbiotic relationship, both the fungus and the young ants get fed. A chocolate tree has a much more complicated series of symbiotic relationships with a variety of other species, providing a complex example of mutualism in the tropical rainforest.

To ensure pollination, the chocolate tree produces tiny buds that die and rot.

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These are ideal homes for the midges that it needs to pollinate its flowers. Once the flowers are pollinated, they grow into large, brightly-colored seed pods. The seed pods are filled with a delicious, fleshy pulp and bitter seeds. With these pods, the chocolate tree attracts monkeys and squirrels that eat the pods but spit out the bitter seeds, in another symbiotic relationship.

symbiotic relationship in the amazon rainforest

The chocolate tree relies on this relationship to scatter its seeds so more chocolate trees can grow. A more complex three-way arrangement is the infestation of chocolate trees with mealy bugs. The bugs don't harm the chocolate tree but the tree doesn't receive any direct benefit either. The mealy bugs are raised and taken care of by black ants that eat the waste honeydew the mealy bugs produce. In their own symbiotic relationship, the black ants keep other insects away from the mealy bugs, and as a side benefit, keep away other insects that could harm the chocolate tree.

The chocolate tree has one more symbiotic relationship down by its roots. A fungus grows on the roots and receives its nourishment from the tree. The chocolate tree in turn is able to absorb nutrients from the soil more effectively due to the presence of the fungus.