Oxpeckers and zebras relationship problems

Zebra and oxpecker relationship

oxpeckers and zebras relationship problems

salonjardin.info In these areas, the zebras are plagued by black flies, ticks, and midges. The honeyguide bird has something of a problem: it wants access to the Oxpeckers aren't the only birds that zebras have been known to pair. One example of a mutualistic relationship is that of the oxpecker (a kind of bird) and the rhinoceros or zebra. Oxpeckers land on rhinos or zebras and eat ticks.

Here, we investigate general patterns in such relationships at large spatial and taxonomic scales. To obtain large-scale data, an extensive internet-based search for photos was carried out on Google Images.

To characterize patterns of the structural organization of commensalistic—mutualistic associations between African birds and herbivorous mammals, we used a network analysis approach. We then employed phylogenetically-informed comparative analysis to explore whether features of bird visitation of mammals, i.

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We found that the association web structure was only weakly nested for commensalistic as well as for mutualistic birds oxpeckers Buphagus spp. Moreover, except for oxpeckers, nestedness did not differ significantly from a null model indicating that birds do not prefer mammal species which are visited by a large number of bird species. In oxpeckers, however, a nested structure suggests a non-random assignment of birds to their mammal hosts.

We also identified some new or rare associations between birds and mammals, but we failed to find several previously described associations. Furthermore, we found that mammal body mass positively influenced the number and mass of birds observed sitting on them in the full set of species i. We also found a positive correlation between mammal body mass and mass of non-oxpecker species as well as oxpeckers.

Mammal herd size was associated with a higher mass of birds in the full set of species as well as in non-oxpecker species, and mammal species living in larger herds also attracted more bird species in the full set of species. Habitat openness influenced the mass of birds sitting on mammals as well as the number of species recorded sitting on mammals in the full set of species. In non-oxpecker species habitat openness was correlated with the bird number, mass and species richness.

Our results provide evidence that patterns of bird—mammal associations can be linked to mammal and environmental characteristics and highlight the potential role of information technologies and new media in further studies of ecology and evolution.

Unlikely Animal Friends!

However, further study is needed to get a proper insight into the biological and methodological processes underlying the observed patterns. The African herbivorous mammals are composed of many phylogenetic lineages with diverse life strategies, including their body masses and tendency to form herds Smith et al.

The majority of previous studies investigating patterns in commensalistic—mutualistic interactions between African birds and large herbivores have focused only on single or a small number of species Hart et al. Hence, a large-scale and multitaxonomical approach is useful when investigating patterns in bird—mammal interactions to avoid problems with interpretation and generalization of relationships which may be area- or taxa-specific.

Many types of heterospecific relationships, including both commensalism and mutualism, are depicted as complex webs comprising several interacting species, rather than as isolated interactions between species pairs Bascompte et al.

Symbiotic Relationships for Rhinos | Sciencing

As a result, the structure of such community networks exhibit a specific arrangement of interactions rather than random inter-specific interactions. However, studies involving birds as interactors have had mixed results. For instance, while a highly nested structure was found for cleaning associations between birds and their mammal hosts in Neotropical regions Sazima et al. The number and diversity of birds directly interacting with i. The only examples of African birds exhibiting obligate mutualistic associations with mammals are the small-bodied passerines, oxpeckers Buphagidaebeing two extant species, yellow-billed oxpecker Buphagus africanus and red-billed oxpecker B.

Here, the species association features may differ from other birds since the feeding ecology of oxpeckers and their presence on host species has been found to be strongly correlated with the character of host infestation by ectoparasites Hart et al.

Zebra's host their friends

To investigate large-scale patterns of bird—mammal associations, extensive data collection from free online sources may be useful. During the last decade, the engagement of volunteers in scientific projects, so-called citizen science, has became an integral part of current ecological and evolutionary research Bonney et al. Approaches range from the collection of internet data uploaded by the public to active participation and collaboration with scientists e.

Rapid technological development and the expanding access of the public to both internet and recording devices, such as cameras or smartphones, around the world have increased the accessibility, immediacy and extent of data sharing.

Online data collected by the public can represent a useful resource for expansion of scientific knowledge on rare or poorly studied phenomena e. Despite the increasing number of such studies, material uploaded on the internet by the public is still an underexploited data source for studies in ecology and evolution.

Here, we used photos collected using the web-based search engine Google Images to investigate some aspects of commensalistic—mutualistic associations between African birds and herbivorous mammals. A Symbiotic, but Parasitic, Relationship in a Rhino's Gut The rhinoceros bot fly Gyrostigma rhinocerontis lives exclusively in the digestive tracts of both white and black rhinoceroses.

The adults, which are the largest flies in Africa, lay their eggs on the skin of rhinos, and the larvae burrow into the rhino's stomach, where they attach and live through larval stages called "instars.

Then they have only a few days to find another rhinoceros host. This symbiotic relationship has no benefit to the rhino hosts, while the flies are "obligate parasites," which means they're dependent on the rhinos — they can't complete their life cycle without them. A Highly Visible Example of Symbiosis Oxpecker birds Buphagus erythrorhynchusalso called tickbirds, specialize in riding on large African animals, including rhinos and zebras, feeding on external parasites like the bot-fly larvae and ticks.

The International Rhino Foundation describes how mynah birds serve the same role on rhinos in India. The oxpeckers feast on the parasites they find, and they also lend the favor of raising a loud warning when a potential predator approaches.

oxpeckers and zebras relationship problems

The honeyguide cannot get the honey by itself, the bee hives are too tough for it to peck in to and it is likely to get stung. The honeybadger is well known for being vicious and quite happy to attack for its own gains, such as tearing apart bee hives for honey.

oxpeckers and zebras relationship problems

The honeyguide will locate a promising beehive and remember its location. Then it goes in search of a honey badger, calls to it and the honey badger follows the honey guide.

The honey guide flies from tree to tree calling to the honey badger to keep following until they reach the hive. The honey badger tears apart the hive and eats as much honey as it wants. The honey guide waits for the honey badger to leave, then can safely enjoy the remaining honey. The honeybadger always leaves some honey for the honeyguide.

oxpeckers and zebras relationship problems

Benefit to the honeyguide: Benefit to the honey badger: The honeyguide saves the honey badger the trouble of locating the hive. The honeybadger then eats its fill of honey and leaves the leftovers for the honeyguide. Drongo and Meerkats The drongo is a bird in Africa and eats the same food as the meerkats, they eat arachnids, insects, and worms.

Meerkats feed as a group and the drongo watches on from a tree.

Mutualism: Oxpecker and Zebra by Precious Ojo on Prezi

The drongo acts as a look out for the meerkats and gives a warning cry when it sees predators which sends the meerkats running for cover. The drongo wins the trust of the meerkats, but then will be a bit cheeky and give a false warning call. The meerkats will run for cover and the drongo can swoop down and pick up a tasty scorpion dropped by a meerkat.