Mutualism: Interactions between individuals of different species in which both have an advantage or profit, similar to commercial interactions in human society.
The image chosen as the winner of the 2021 edition of the Royal Society of Biology competition shows the interaction between ants and a species of aphids.
The insects feed on the aphids secreted by the aphids after processing the sap and getting rid of the sugar-rich droplets. In turn, ants provide protection from predators. Here’s how the two animals built a “reciprocal” relationship.
“There are many magical events happening in nature around us – I was curious and attentive,” explained Vishwanath Birjee, who took the photo in Thane, India.
Below, see the other winning photos of the competition, which this year’s theme was “Interconnected.”
Patterns in the image show Bacillus subtilis grown on a dextrose agar plate, a culture medium for the isolation and identification of fungi and yeasts – Image: Alice Feng/Royal Society of Biology
Wasps and Cockroaches Interaction: Wasp species are known to inoculate a toxin into the cockroach’s brain, leaving it ‘sensitized’. Then the hornet uses the cockroach as a place to grow its egg. Photo: Rayban Biswas/Royal Society of Biology
Golden tree snake preying on the Tokai gecko – Photo: Wei Fu/Royal Society of Biology
“Gamers. Unfortunate Twitter teachers. Zombie pioneers. Internet fans. Hardcore thinkers.”