follow Dictionary.com

8 Wintry Words to Defrost Your Vocabulary

commensalism

[kuh-men-suh-liz-uh m] /kəˈmɛn səˌlɪz əm/
noun
1.
Ecology. a type of relationship between two species of a plant, animal, fungus, etc., in which one lives with, on, or in another without damage to either.
2.
Sociology. peaceful coexistence among individuals or groups having independent or different values or customs.
Origin
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for commensalism
n.

1870, from commensal + -ism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
commensalism in Medicine

commensalism com·men·sal·ism (kə-měn'sə-lĭz'əm)
n.
A symbiotic relationship in which one organism derives benefit and the other is unharmed.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
commensalism in Science
commensalism
  (kə-měn'sə-lĭz'əm)   
A symbiotic relationship in which one organism derives benefit while causing little or no harm to the other. Examples of commensalism include epiphytic plants, which depend on a larger host plant for support but which do not derive any nourishment from it, and remoras, which attach themselves to sharks and feed on their leavings without appreciably hindering their hosts. Compare amensalism, mutualism, parasitism.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for commensalism

in biology, a relation between individuals of two species in which one species obtains food or other benefits from the other without either harming or benefiting the latter. (This kind of relation can be contrasted with mutualism, in which both species benefit.) The commensal (the species that benefits from the association) may obtain nutrients, shelter, support, or locomotion from the host species, which is substantially unaffected. The commensal relation is often between a larger host and a smaller commensal; the host organism is unmodified, whereas the commensal species may show great structural adaptation consonant with its habits, as in the remoras that ride attached to sharks and other fishes. Both remoras and pilot fishes feed on the leftovers of their hosts' meals. A commensal relation based on shelter is seen in clown fishes (Amphiprion percula), which live unharmed among the stinging tentacles of sea anemones, where they are protected from predators. Numerous birds feed on the insects turned up by grazing mammals, while other birds obtain soil organisms stirred up by the plow. Various biting lice, fleas, and louse flies are commensals in that they feed harmlessly on the feathers of birds and on sloughed-off flakes of skin from mammals.

Learn more about commensalism with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Word Value for commensalism

0
26
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for commensalism