Category Archives: mutualism


Wound heals faster in presence of cleaner shrimp In case of injury, fish get extra benefits from the services of cleaner shrimp, David Vaughan and colleagues demonstrate. Even though the cleaner does not specifically clean the wound, its treatment aids … Continue reading

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Help when needed

Crab spider makes itself useful on infested flower Lying in ambush on a flower, a crab spider will grab every visitor and eat it. Its victim may be a useful guest, such as a bee, as well as a harmful … Continue reading

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Deceit, abuse and benefits

Complex relationships between arum, blowflies and lizard With its smell of rotting carrion, the dead-horse arum Helicodiceros muscivorus is irresistible to blowflies and a lizard. The blowflies will be abused, the lizard benefits. Ana Pérez-Cembranos and colleagues unraveled these complex … Continue reading

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Multi-coloured livestock

Thanks to tending ants, mixed aphid colonies persist The aphid milking ant Lasius japonicus ensures long-lasting coexistence of two colour morphs of the mugwort aphid, from which it harvests honeydew, Saori Watanabe and colleagues write. Without intervention, its favourite colour would be … Continue reading

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‘Heart of Flame’ bromelia protects spider against flames In case of a fire event on the Brazilian cerrado, many animals are killed. But the spider Psecas chapoda, which lives on a bromeliad plant, has a chance to survive, Paula de … Continue reading

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Hypocritical behaviour

Cheating cleaner wrasse cares about its reputation In some circumstances, cleaner wrasse attract clients by presenting themselves as more friendly than they really are – and subsequently provide them a bad service, as research by Sandra Binning and colleagues reveals. … Continue reading

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Rescue heroes

Birds free entangled group members from sticky seeds Seeds of the Pisonia tree can be dangerous for a little songbird like the Seychelles warbler: when these sticky seeds attach to its feathers, such a bird is not able to fly. … Continue reading

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Glow in the dark

Flashlight fish turns headlights on to catch prey It is difficult to find food in the dark. But the splitfin flashlight fish Anomalops katoptron has no problem: it turns its headlights on when it hunts on zooplankton, as Jens Hellinger … Continue reading

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Good friend

Sea anemone grows better with a shy clownfish around The strength of the mutualistic interactions between sea anemones and clownfish depends on the personality of the fish, Philip Schmiege and colleagues report. A shy, cautious partner benefits a sea anemone … Continue reading

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Mini garden

Some arboreal ants grow useful plants Gardening is an art – and there are ants that master this art. On the branches of trees they cultivate plants to live in or to strengthen their nests, as research teams of Guillaume … Continue reading

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