Dictionary > Symbiont

Symbiont

Definition
noun, plural: symbionts
An organism in a symbiotic relationship
Supplement
Symbiont is the term used to refer to an organism living in a symbiosis. Symbiosis is a close and prolonged interaction between organisms of different species. Formerly, the term symbiosis is limited to symbionts that mutually benefit from the interaction. This type of symbiotic relationship where both participating symbionts benefit from each other is now referred to as mutualism. Symbionts in mutualism are often interdependent. An example is the hermit crab whose shell offers a niche for anemones to exist in which the anemone can defend the crab with its stinging capabilities. Another example is the interaction between Rhizobia species and the plant legumes. The symbiont Rhizobia fix atmospheric nitrogen to a readily available nitrogen source for use by the legume. In return, the legume provides Rhizobia certain metabolites (e.g. malate and succinate) through photosynthesis.
Other types of symbiotic relationship are parasitism and commensalism. In parasitism, only one benefits whereas the other is harmed. The symbiont benefits at the expense of the host. In commensalism, the symbiont benefits from the host but does not cause benefit or harm to it.
Word origin: Greek symbiont- , symbiṓn, symbioûn” ( to live together)
Synonym(s):

  • symbiote

See also:

  • symbiosis
  • mutualism
  • commensalism
  • parasitism
  • commensal
  • parasite
  • host


  • You will also like...

    Biological Energy
    ATP & ADP – Biological Energy

    ATP is the energy source that is typically used by an organism in its daily activities. The name is based on its structu..

    Selective Breeding
    Selective Breeding

    Gregor Mendel's studies into Monohybrid and Dihybrid crossing and Charles Darwin's study of evolution and natural select..

    Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand
    New Zealand’s Unique Geographical History

    Explore why New Zealand has such unique flora and fauna, and learn why long periods of geographical isolation. This less..

    Salmon jumping upstream in the river
    Lotic Communities & Animals

    A running water environment offers numerous microhabitats for many types of animals. Similar to plants, animals in lotic..

    Gene Regulation in Eukaryotes
    Gene Regulation in Eukaryotes

    Learn about the general structure of a eukaryotic gene, the transcription factors, and post-transcriptional regulation....

    Digestion and Absorption of Food
    Digestion and Absorption of Food

    The gastrointestinal system breaks down particles of ingested food into molecular forms by enzymes through digestion and..

    Related Articles...

    No related articles found

    See all Related Topics