Oxpecker bird and rhinoceros relationship help

Rhinos and Oxpeckers by Beth Schwarz on Prezi

oxpecker bird and rhinoceros relationship help

Oxpeckers and zebras or rhinos - In this relationship, the oxpecker (a bird) lives on the This "good" bacteria exists in order to help the human to digest food. The bird feeds on the ticks, horsefly larvae and other parasites that it finds on the The rhinoceros and the oxpecker have a mutual symbiotic relationship. The black rhino is a massive animal that weighs between and 3, the black rhino does share a symbiotic relationship with another species. Oxpeckers, or tick birds, sit on the rhino and eat ticks, blood sores and even.

Their digestion depends on microflora in the gut, for example.

oxpecker bird and rhinoceros relationship help

Also, they attract insect parasites, which in turn attract birds who eat the insects. The rhinoceros enjoys relief from the insects, while the birds enjoy a meal, but the relationships are not always so clear-cut.

biosystems: Mutualistic Symbiosis:

Mutualistic Relationships in a Rhino's Gut Rhinoceroses are ungulates: They eat tough plant matter but are not able to digest the cellulose their food contains. They rely on microflora that are able to digest this material, releasing nutrients like fatty acids that the host animal can absorb and use for energy — an example of mutualism.

oxpecker bird and rhinoceros relationship help

The hosts don't ruminate like cattle; the microflora work in the host's hindgut. Studies of white rhino dung show bacteria of the phyla Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes dominating the microflora living in the rhino gut, along with many other unclassified bacteria.

oxpecker bird and rhinoceros relationship help

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.

Adding the word "cleaning" to mutualism indicates that one partner removes external parasites from the other.

oxpecker bird and rhinoceros relationship help

Kifaru The rhino "kifaru" in Swahili grazes on the African savanna and shelters in dense thickets of thorny brush. Ticks lurk in both spots, waiting to fling themselves onto a host. Kifaru's skin is thick, but very sensitive and well supplied with blood just under the surface, so it bleeds easily.

Ticks and other skin parasites make Kifaru itch horribly, so he spends a lot of time and energy scratching himself on rocks and trees, trying to get rid of them. This is where the oxpecker, or tickbird, can be a big help.

Symbiotic Relationships for Rhinos | Sciencing

Kifaru is also very shortsighted and has a hard time seeing enemies if they approach, but the oxpecker on Kifaru's back can, and provides some warning by hissing and screaming.

Because the rhino can survive without the tickbird, Kifaru is a facultative partner in this mutualistic relationship. Askari wa Kifaru The little oxpecker "askari wa kifaru" or "the rhino's guard" in Swahili "cleans" the rhino by plucking ticks from Kifaru's skin, but does so selectively; he prefers big, fat ticks that are already engorged with blood, ignoring the little ones that irritate Kifaru just as badly.

The oxpecker also searches any wounds or sores Kifaru may have and removes botfly larvae and other parasites, but in the process he also removes scabs and tissue, causing fresh bleeding.

Birds Helping Rhino

In fact, the oxpecker gets his blood meals as much directly from Kifaru himself as from the parasites he removes. This makes the tickbird the obligate partner, almost a parasite himself.