The links to nature’s fragile networks are connected through a fine balance of dependence. Plants need polinators, predators and prey pit their skills of survival, and we humans depend on nature for her bounteous services for our very existence.

Though some relationships are a little more complex than others.  Take this beautiful inkblom flower (Harveya Capensis) it’s a cheat, a parasite feeding off other plant hosts by latching onto the roots or stems to absorb ready-made food.

Inkblom White Harveya

The erica plant below is one of the host species associated with inkbloom.


The dreaded Witches Tresses  (Cuscuta) is an invasive vine, wrapping tendrils round it’s host.  It produces haustoria which penetrate into the host’s vascular system and sucks out it’s lifeblood.

Witches Tresses Cuscuta

While parasitism harms the host,  a commensal, or a mutually cooperative relationship benefits one without detriment to the other.   As shown here through the compatibility of this ‘odd couple’, the Spoonbill stirs up the mud in the river bed with a ‘built-for-purpose’ broad bill, while the Sacred Ibis is on standby to pick up any crustaceans on the move.

The spoonbill and the ibis.

Inspired by this week’s  WordPress photo challenge topic “Connected”.