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...

    human brain structure
    The Conscious & Unconscious Nervous System

    This tutorial elaborates on how the nervous system works, particularly at the tissue level of the brain. There are three..

    Freshwater Ecology
    Freshwater Ecology

    Freshwater ecology focuses on the relations of aquatic organisms to their freshwater habitats. There are two forms of co..

    genes controlling growth and development
    Control of Growth & Development

    Control of Growth & Development tutorials look at how the genetic makeup determines the biological processes on a da..

    Human Neurology
    Human Neurology

    Human Neurology deals essentially with the nervous system of humans. It also features the various theories put forward b..

    Fossil trilobite imprint in the sediment
    Insects

    There are more species of insects than any other species combined. This surely illustrates that insects have the selecti..

    Biological Cell schematic diagram
    Biological Cell Introduction

    It only takes one biological cell to create an organism. A single cell is able to keep itself functional through its 'mi..