Live and let live
(Pix courtesy: http://bookbuilder.cast.org)
Nature is full of examples of animals that help each other to co-exist. This is termed symbiosis.
1) Hermit crab and sea anemone:
Sea anemones hitchhike on the back of hermit crabs, scoring a ride across the seabed and extending their tentacles to eat the crab’s leftovers. Crabs actively recruit these passengers. After poking an anemone with its pincers – causing it to release its grip from its current home – the crab holds it in place so the anemone can reattach to the crab’s own shell. In return, the anemones fend off hungry octopuses and other predators using their barbed tentacles. The crabs return the favour by driving away creatures that eat anemones, such as starfish and fireworms.
2) Bees and orchids:
Male orchid bees collect perfume from a wide variety of South- and Central American neotropical orchids, and turn this into chemical signals called pheromones. In the process, orchid pollen is conveniently attached to the bee’s back, where it can subsequently rub off onto female parts of other flowers. The process is vital for orchid reproduction. Scientists aren’t yet sure what orchid bees do with their perfume-based pheromones. The potent concoction may attract females, be used to mark territories, or it may just smell awfully good.
3) Goby fish and snapping shrimp:
In a crafty collaboration, snapping shrimps construct and maintain burrows in the seabed, while the fish stands guard. Sighting potential threats, the fish waggles its tail against the shrimps’ antennae or into the burrow entrance, warning the shrimp of the danger. In return, the fish can call the burrow home, sleeping in it with the shrimp at night and using it as a convenient bolthole in the face of peril.
4) Cleaner fish:
Cleaner fish then gorge themselves on parasites, mucous and dead tissues from the surface of their client. In addition to a spick and span skin, client fish enjoy a good tickle. It’s partly this rewarding sensation that stops the client fish gobbling up the cleaner fish
There are numerous examples of such type of symbiosis in nature.
Man is supposed to be the most evolved when compared to such animals in that he is gifted with an intellect to reason and think. However, in his greed he forgets even his fellow men and exhibits the trait of selfishness. If we can imbibe a few lessons from this marvellous co-existence among animals in nature for mutual benefit – wouldn’t this world be a better place?