What is the difference between symbiotic and mutualistic organisms?
The term symbiotic and mutualistic organisms tend to confuse a lot of ecologists across the world. Some students pursuing animal biology uses them interchangeably.
The core difference between symbiotic and mutualistic organisms is that symbiotic organism tends to suffer or benefit from the relationship while mutualistic organisms tend to benefit.
What Are Symbiotic Organisms?
Symbiotic organisms refer to those organisms that live together but do not benefit from the relationship. These organisms tend to exhibit commensalism or parasitic relationship. Some of the organism tends to benefit, suffer or not affected by the relationship.
What Are Mutualistic Organisms?
Mutualistic organism refers to that organism that lives together intending to benefit from each other. It is said to be a type of symbiotic relationship.
The main of living together is for nutrition, shelter, movement, pollination and defensive mutual benefits.
Comparison Chart: Symbiotic Vs Mutualistic Organisms
|Basic Terms||Symbiotic Organism||Mutualistic Organism|
|Meaning||These are organisms that live together but do not necessarily benefit from each other||These are organisms that live together and benefit from each other|
|Significance||Shows mutualism, commensal and parasitic relationship||Shows symbiotic relationship|
|Nature of relationship||Organisms can either benefit, suffer or not affected at all||Organisms tend to benefit from each other|
|Examples||Hermit crabs using dead gastropods for their protection, millipedes traveling on birds, etc.||Relationship between bees and flowers|
Core Difference between Symbiotic and Mutualistic Organisms
- The symbiotic organism is that organism that lives together and does not necessarily benefit from each other while mutualistic organism are those organisms that live together and benefit from each other
- Symbiotic organism exhibit mutualism, commensalism, and parasitic relationship while mutualistic organisms exhibit the symbiotic relationship
- Symbiotic organism benefit, suffer and not affected by the relationship while mutualistic organism tend to benefit from each other
- Examples of a symbiotic organism are hermit crab and mosquitoes while those of mutualistic organisms are bees and flowers
Similarities between Symbiotic and Mutualism Organism
- Both organisms live in the same ecosystem
- Both organisms belong to different species
- Both organism benefit from the relationship
- Both relationships help to fulfill basic requirements
Both symbiotic and mutualistic organisms are found in the same ecosystem. However, the organism comes in different species. The relationship enables some organisms to get shelter and food while others tend to suffer.