The main difference between mutualism and parasitism is that the mutualism is an environmental interaction in between two varieties from which both partners benefit whereas the parasitism is another kind of ecological interaction in which one partner benefits at the prices of the second partner. Furthermore, each partner requires the other partner because that the survive in mutualism while only the parasite needs the organize for the survival in parasitism. 

Mutualism and also parasitism space two symbiotic relationships that can take place in a specific ecosystem. 

Key areas Covered 

1. What is Mutualism – Definition, Facts, examples 2. What is Parasitism – Definition, Facts, examples 3. What are the Similarities between Mutualism and Parasitism – summary of common Features 4. What is the Difference between Mutualism and Parasitism – to compare of crucial Differences

Key Terms 

Host, Mutualism, Mutualist, Parasite, Parasitism, Symbiosis 


What is Mutualism 

Mutualism is a kind of synergy in i m sorry both partners benefit from the relationship. The two partners the the mutualistic relationship evolve together in the ecosystem, coming to be a component of it. Every component provides use that the other component and vice versa. The objective of the mutualistic relationship varies and some the the demands fulfilled through this form of partnership are food, transport, shelter, pollination, or defense. 

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Figure 1: Oxpeckers eating Ticks

Some mutualistic relationships space described below. 

The punishment or bird and also flower is a mutualistic relationship based on nutritional demands of the bee or bird and the pollination for the flower. Bacteria in the digestive tract of humans aid the cradle of food while human offers shelter for that bacteria. The nitrogen-fixing bacteria live in the root of legumes while giving nutrients come plants. The ants protect acacia plants from looking by animals while the ants acquire food and also shelter indigenous the plant.

What is Parasitism 

Parasitism is one more symbiotic relationship, i m sorry occurs in between the host and the parasite. The parasite services at the expenses of the host. Here, the host does not get any benefit from the parasite. But, the partnership is harmful to the host due to the fact that the parasite grows, feeds, and reproduce ~ above the host. Sometimes, the relationship deserve to be lethal or pathogenic come the host. Usually, the parasite is smaller sized than the host and also shows higher reproduction rates. Part parasites undergo number of developmental step inside their host. 


Figure 2: A Mosquito Bite

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The 2 main varieties of parasites room endoparasites and also ectoparasites. Endoparasites such as Plasmodium, roundworm, tapeworm, and pinworm live within the host. Some of them live in the digestive device of the host and also feed top top the digestive food. Ectoparasites such as lice, mosquitoes, and fleas live on the host. Some plant parasites incorporate aphids and also insects that drink the sap.

Similarities between Mutualism and also Parasitism 

Mutualism and parasitism room two species of symbiotic relationships that can occur in an ecosystem. They occur in between two types within the exact same habitat. Both species of relationship are crucial for the consistency that organisms. 

Difference between Mutualism and also Parasitism 


Mutualism refers to interactions between organisms of two different species, in which every organism services from the communication in some way. Parasitism refers to a form of symbiotic relationship, or irreversible relationship between two species, whereby one member, the parasite, gains benefits that come in ~ the price of the hold member. This is the communication of the difference between mutualism and also parasitism.


Mutualism occurs in between two non-parasitic varieties while parasitism occurs between the host and also the parasite. 


In mutualism, the two organisms need each other whereas in parasitism, the parasite demands the host, yet the host doesn’t require the parasite. 


Also, mutualism is not very certain while parasitism is a sort of certain relationship. 


The relationship in between bees and also flowers, digestive bacteria and also humans, oxpeckers and zebras, clawnfish and also sea anemone, etc. Are some instances of mutualism while the relationship between mosquito and human, lice on human, tapeworms in cow, and Cuscuta in plants room some examples of parasitism.


Mutualism is a symbiotic interaction in i beg your pardon both varieties benefit native the relationship. But, parasitism is another form of symbiotic interaction in which the parasite services on the expenses of the host. Both species are involved in the interaction live in the very same habitat. The main difference between mutualism and parasitism is the type of relationship. 


1. “Mutualistic Relationships.” Evolution, NECSI, Available Here2. “Parasitism – Definition, types and Examples.” biology Dictionary, biology Dictionary, 29 Apr. 2017, Available Here

Image Courtesy:

1. “Impala mutualim with birds wide” through Muhammad Mahdi Karim – Own work (GFDL 1.2) via Commons Wikimedia 2. “Anopheles minimus” by Photo: James GathanyContent Provider: CDC – This media originates from the Centers for condition Control and also Prevention’s Public health and wellness Image Library (PHIL), v identification number #7950. (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia