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The relationship between remora and shark can best be described as…

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The relationship between remora and shark can best be described as

A. parasitism

B. amensalism

C. mutualism

D. commensalism




By relationship here, the examiner obviously implies feeding relationship. We are looking at whether the both organisms benefit, or one of them benefits at the expense or no expense of the other. Remora fishes benefit from eating the skin parasites and scraps that fall off the sharks’ table; they enjoy transportation and protection of the shark, while the shark have their skin cleared of parasites. Hence the both organisms benefit from this feeding arrangement.

Now for the right answer to the above question:

  1. Parasitism is obviously a wrong choice here. Parasitism involves the prey of one at the expense of the other, one party is gaining and the other is losing. so, A is quite incorrect.
  2. Amensalism is a type of association where one organism is harmed, and the other is unaffected positively or negatively. So, B is also incorrect.
  3. Mutualism involves an association where both organisms benefit. So, C is correct.
  4. D is incorrect; commensalism was initially thought to be involved between the remora and shark, but recent discovery shows that the shark also benefits from the remora when the latter eat up the skin parasites that may be harmful to the shark.
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You may please note that:

  • Amensalism is an association where one party suffers loss while the other neither gains nor lose. It differs from parasitism where one party losses and the other gains.
  • Commensalism was initially thought to be the type of association involved between the big shark and the little remora, however, recent discoveries show that the shark too benefits because the remora eats up small parasites that may be living on its skin.

Use the questions and answers session to deal further on this topic…

/ culled from 2017 JAMB-UTME biology question 11 /

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