Talk:Mutualism (biology)

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merge with biological interaction ?[edit]

Can this be merged into Biological interaction? Use Talk:Biological interaction to discuss. Jmeppley 19:01, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Perhaps merge with Symbiosis? --203.26.206.129 09:29, 29 May 2005 (UTC)

I disagree, see Talk:Commensalism Jmeppley 16:43, 29 May 2005 (UTC)
Definitely worthy of its own article. Mutualism and symbiosis overlap but neither is a form of the other. Richard001 07:32, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

Rm of paragraph[edit]

It sucks last paragraph from the article that read "also, those trees with the ants that protect it.". It is clearly half a sentence and poorly worded. However if anyone does know what "those trees with the ants that protect them" are then it does imho deserve a mention in the article. Thryduulf 15:52, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

Genes transfer[edit]

This article is very interesing, and could be a perfect example of what Wikipedia is able to achieve. I say this from a philosophical pov, having stumbled here and immediately linked it with Gilles Deleuze's notion of rhizomes: Deleuze often talked about the mutualism between the wasp & the orchid, especially in A Thousand Plateaus. I could look up references for that to deepen the article's span; but what would really be interesting is a more thorough biological introduction to it. I may be wrong, but I kind of remember from all those discussions about this concept, really interesting since it involves cross-species phenomenons, that, in particular cases, genes could also be transfered through this process. This would thus a bit cross it (this being an extrapolation...) with Genetically modified organism (i'm not refering to cross-breeding which has nothing to do with mutualism). Anyone out there? Lapaz 01:06, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

I found this on horizontal gene transfer: "There is also recent evidence that the adzuki bean beetle has somehow acquired genetic material from its (non-beneficial) endosymbiont Wolbachia."
"Sequence comparisons suggest recent horizontal transfer of many genes among diverse species including across the boundaries of phylogenetic "domains". Thus determining the phylogenetic history of a species can not be done conclusively by determining evolutionary trees for single genes." [1]

Shouldn't it be included here? Lapaz 15:45, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Peter Kropotkin[edit]

would making refrences to peter kropotkins book mutual aid: a factor in evolution be appropriate? Im thinking of making it a subsection or atleast paying tribute to it as one of the first scientific addings of the concept mutual aid to darwinian evolution.

I strongly concur. His work might seem a tad dated now, but he was very likely the pioneer of this branch of ecology/biology. --Smilo Don 00:36, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

ToDo - References[edit]

Someone with a modicum of knowlege of the subject matter needs to embed some of the references, per MoS. - Tiswas(t/c)

Category[edit]

We seem to have a problem with cats - there is no Category:Mutualism, but some non-symbiotic interactions are being added there. For example pollination is generally not symbiotic. I don't think mutualism itself should be in the symbiosis category anymore than symbiosis should be in the mutualism category, though it might help as a navigation aid. Richard001 05:07, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

Plants & Animals[edit]

There should be a section about the mutual symbiotic relationship between plants and animals (including human beings). Plants use the solids, liquids and gases (CO2) we excrete and we use the oxygen and food provided by plants. We need to grow more plants to feed an ever growing population, and to clean up our wastes...Friendlyinnovators (talk) 17:34, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

To grow more plants for food would basically require cutting down more forests, which would kind of go against the 'cleaning up our wastes' thing. We might also consider why populations are so high in the first place, i.e. availability of food. Richard001 (talk) 02:05, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
Hydroponics enables the growth of plants using much less space and much less water than conventional methods. Oceans cover over 70% of the earth's surface and could be used to grow algae, which can be converted to biofuel and food. Reducing population is not a solution. I'm not willing to offer, are you? We need to use creativity to solve problems.Friendlyinnovators (talk) 16:00, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
There is no long term solution that doesn't involve stopping population growth. Your ideas are unrealistic and don't address the source of the problem. But this has gotten completely off topic, so let's take it elsewhere if you wish to continue. Richard001 (talk) 07:44, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

Clarification of Definitions[edit]

If "Mutualism is a biological interaction between individuals of two different species, where both individuals derive a fitness benefit", and "symbiotic" is a sub-classification within "mutualism", how can "parasitic" be a sub-classification within symbiosis, as written on the Wikipedia "Symbiosis" page? Commensalism is also listed as a type of symbiosis on the "Symbiosis" page, being defined as "a kind of relationship between two organisms where one benefits and the other is not significantly harmed or helped". If these other definitions are correct, then the definition of "mutualism" must be incorrect.

Are there, in fact, no universally accepted definitions? Is this a matter of different schools of biology having their own definitions? Can a coherent set of working definitions not be formulated?

[This note has been added to both the "Mutualism" and "Symbiosis" Talk pages.] Heavenlyblue (talk) 23:50, 18 May 2008 (UTC)


Response: "Symbiosis" as originally defined in the 19th Century by Anton de Bary refers to any close association by two or more species, regardless of the outcome of the association for those species. Therefore symbiosis can be mutualistic (for example lichens, anemonefish-anemone interactions, fig pollination, etc.), commensalistic, parasitic (most parasitic relationships are symbiotic in the sense that the parasite can only exist in or on the host)or wholly neutral. However, in the 20th century, "symbiosis" came to be used exclusively for what should really be termed "mutualistic symbiosis". Biologists are now divided on the issue; some (myself included) believe that we should refer to symbiotic relationships using the original definition (symbiosis simply refers to "living with" and says nothing about the outcome of that living together). Other biologists happily go along with the change in definition. I think they're wrong, but hey ho, there's no pleasing everyone all of the time! In that sense, therefore, there's not a "universally accepted definition". Hope that's clarified the issue? Speakingofcities (talk) 09:52, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Mutualism in humans[edit]

Maybe we should change "without which we would not be able to digest food efficiently" to "without which we are not be able to digest food efficiently". As this does happen frequently : it's a side effect of several antibiotics therapies DrYak (talk) 14:51, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

An example[edit]

Killer whales of Eden, Australia should be added somewhere. --92.1.175.38 (talk) 16:37, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Move article[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was page moved. Vegaswikian (talk) 23:53, 5 December 2009 (UTC)



MutualismMutualism (biology) — REason: Hatnote: "This article is about the biological..." Mutualism should be made a Disambiguation page. Discussion began at Wikipedia:Categories_for_discussion/Log/2009_November_26#Category:Mutualism. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:54, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

  • Oppose. Mutualism is the primary topic by a factor of better than 6:1, based on pageviews. Dab pages are not needed or recommended when there are only two articles. The hatnote is performimg its function, directing the minority to the secondary use of the term. Station1 (talk) 22:41, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Rename. It's unsurprising that the article currently labelled as primary topic get more page views than one that isn't, partly because readers typing in "mutualism" land here and partly because when one article is given primary slot, internal links tend not to be properly disambiguated (because they don't show up in the lists maintained by WP:DPWL, and even if they are spotted, they cannot be fixed by popups).
    I see no evidence other than page hits under the current setup that the biological theory is the primary topic, and those figures are measuring the effect of the current setup. Creating a disambiguation page will allow all the links to point to the correct article, and will avoid the current breach WP:NPOV (by favouring a scientific theory over a socio-economic theory).
    Closing admin please note the who have expressed support for this move at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2009 November 26#Category:Mutualism. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 02:05, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Rename. The current setup is confusing for readers. There are at least three mutualisms: biological mutualism, economic mutualism and organizational mutualism. Each are interrelated but distinct, a relationship best established with a disambig. - N1h1l (talk) 16:23, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Not sure whether to rename or not. You all raised good points! I created this disambiguation page. Is it ok? Please revise it, if necessary. thanks! Difu Wu (talk) 16:45, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Rename. Even as a Bio teacher, I can see this as being a equally valid (i.e. no real primary article/topic). Moogwrench (talk) 22:27, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

hello im ur mom —Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.62.3.98 (talk) 00:11, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Cleaning inter-language links?[edit]

Currently there is a mixture of links to articles to other languages about Mutualism and Mutualism (biology). Since Mutualism exists, wouldn't make sense to delete here all the links to generic Mutualism pages, keeping only those referring to Mutualism (biology)? --Qgil (talk) 19:01, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

Wrong picture? Red0Billed Oxpecker[edit]

"The Red-billed Oxpecker feed on ticks off the impala's coat" is in the mutualism article, yet the article on the Oxpecker suggests it is really commensalism or even parasitism, since the Oxpecker also pecks open wounds since it likes eating blood in general. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.233.24.24 (talk) 23:39, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Mycorrhiza image[edit]

Does that mycorrhiza image really belong here? For one thing, it's got captions in Czech. In the image description, the image's contributor says he "can provide you with my image without the words", so maybe someone should contact him and take him up on that? Or maybe the image would better be removed from the article entirely -- even without the captions, or with English captions, it's apparently hand-drawn with markers, and, at the risk of offending the contributor, may not really be up to encyclopedic standards. (Aside from which, the description of the image implies he may have copied it from a picture in a textbook, which means, depending on how closely he copied it, it may have copyvio issues as well...) ----Smeazel (talk) 11:39, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

I agree, this is not an appropriate image here --Epipelagic (talk) 20:27, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

Mutualism/symbiosis relationship statement not correct[edit]

The statement "Mutualism and symbiosis are sometimes used as if they are synonymous, but this is strictly incorrect: symbiosis is a broad category, defined to include relationships which are mutualistic, parasitic or commensal. Mutualism is only one type."

It seems to me that mutualism is a symbiosis. So calling mutualism a symbiosis is fine. It is just a 'type of'. I think this needs to be reworded as the page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutualism also makes the statement that it is wrong to call mutualism a symbiosis. That needs to be reworded too. User:benjaminDHolland

File:Impala mutualim with birds wide.jpg to appear as POTD soon[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:Impala mutualim with birds wide.jpg will be appearing as picture of the day on November 9, 2011. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2011-11-09. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page so Wikipedia doesn't look bad. :) Thanks! howcheng {chat} 17:33, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Picture of the day
Impala with Red-billed Oxpeckers

Red-billed Oxpeckers (Buphagus erythrorhynchus) feeding on ticks found on this impala (Aepyceros melampus), an example of mutualism, which is defined as the way two organisms biologically interact where each individual derives a fitness benefit (i.e., increased reproductive output). Here, the birds gain food while the impala becomes free of parasites.

Photo: Muhammad Mahdi Karim
ArchiveMore featured pictures...


New Edit[edit]

Hello! I just wanted to let you know that I added a hyperlink for Amphiprion ocellaris into your article. I am a part of a Behavioral Ecology Class (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_Program:Washington_University_in_St._Louis/Behavioral_Ecology_%28Fall_2013%29) Washington University and our assignment was to create hyperlinks from our articles to other articles as examples. Best of luck with your article!! Gseehra123 (talk) 22:17, 14 November 2013 (UTC)