Close, long-term biological interaction between distinct organisms (usually species) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Symbiosis (from Greek συμβίωσις, symbíōsis, "living together", from σύν, sýn, "together", and βίωσις, bíōsis, "living") is any type of a close and long-term biological interaction between two biological organisms of different species, termed symbionts, be it mutualistic, commensalistic, or parasitic. In 1879, Heinrich Anton de Bary defined it as "the living together of unlike organisms". The term is sometimes used in the more restricted sense of a mutually beneficial interaction in which both symbionts contribute to each other's support.
Symbiosis can be obligatory, which means that one or more of the symbionts depend on each other for survival, or facultative (optional), when they can generally live independently.
Symbiosis is also classified by physical attachment. When symbionts form a single body it is called conjunctive symbiosis, while all other arrangements are called disjunctive symbiosis. When one organism lives on the surface of another, such as head lice on humans, it is called ectosymbiosis; when one partner lives inside the tissues of another, such as Symbiodinium within coral, it is termed endosymbiosis.