A Burchell's zebra and a cattle egret at the Rietvlei Nature Reserve in South Africa
© Richard Du Toit/Minden Picture
We can all just get along. International Day for Biological Diversity
On this day, when we honour all the world's species and their interdependence, the Burchell's zebra and the cattle egret give us a great example of commensalism, a type of symbiosis in which one species gets a benefit without helping or hurting the other species – as the zebra grazes in the grass, it stirs up insects for the egret to eat.
There are countless other amazing examples of symbiosis. The anemone’s tentacles protect crabs from predators, and the crab's mobility helps the anemone move around. The Egyptian plover bird picks food from the Nile crocodile's teeth, and the crocs get a cost-free dental hygienist!
All over the world, in all biospheres — forest, ocean, desert — species need each other to survive and thrive. And humans need healthy ecosystems for our water, food, medicine, energy, and so much more. The United Nation's International Day for Biological Diversity 2022 theme is 'Building a shared future for all life.' The observance promotes ecosystem-based approaches to cope with climate change, food and water security, and sustainable livelihoods.