Mutualism: interaction between individuals of different species in which both benefit or benefit, similar to commercial interactions in human society.
The photo, chosen as the winner of the 2021 edition of the “Royal Society of Biology” competition, shows an interaction between ants and a species of aphid.
The insects feed on “honeydew”, the material that is excreted by the aphid after processing the juice and eliminating the sugar-containing droplets. In return, ants provide protection from predators. Here’s how the two animals formed a “mutual” relationship.
“There are many magical events happening in nature around us – I was just curious and attentive,” explained Vishwanath Birje, who took the photo in Thane, India.
Below, see other winning images from the contest, which this year’s theme was “Interconnected.”
Pattern in image Bacillus subtilis grown on a dextrose agar plate, a culture medium for the isolation and identification of fungi and yeast – Photo: Alice Fang / Royal Society of Biology
Wasp and Cockroach Interaction: Wasp species have been known to inject venom into a cockroach’s brain, causing it to become “zombified”. The wasp then uses the cockroach as a place to lay its eggs. — Photo: Ripon Biswas/Royal Society of Biology
A Tokai lizard is hunted by a golden tree snake – Photo: Wei Fu / Royal Society of Biology