Parasitism and Mutualism

Some species live together in a symbiotic relationship. There are two types of symbiotic relationships:

  • Parasitism
  • Mutualism


Parasites live within or on a larger organism, which is called a host. The parasite takes nutrients from the host, but the host gets nothing in return.

In humans, the tapeworm is a parasite that lives inside the gut. It ‘steals’ nutrients from the host, which can lead to malnutrition.


Mutualism is a type of relationship between two species that provides some benefit or resource to both species. For example, providing nutrients.

An example of this is the mutualistic relationship between flowers and bees. Bees get nectar from the flowers, which they can use for food. In the process, bees spread the flower pollen to other flowers, which helps with plant reproduction.