Friday, December 26, 2014


Symbiosis or a symbiotic relationship allows animals to survive by forming partnerships with other animals.

Most of the interactions between species involve food:
- competing for the same food supply
- eating (predation)
- avoiding being eaten (avoiding predation)

For example, _red phalaropes_ are shorebirds often found with whales. When a whale comes to the surface for air, the birds pick and eat parasites from its back.

In "Disastrous Dinner Party" from the book Animal Partners, we see how things might go badly if the birds got a little carried away with their meal preparations...

Text copyright 2014 by Scotti Cohn. Illustration copyright 2014 by Shennen Bersani.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Happy World Rhino Day!

September 22 marks World Rhino Day 2014, the fourth year the event has taken place following its launch by the _World Wildlife Fund_ to raise awareness of the problems facing the species. The biggest threats to rhinos today are poaching, habitat loss, and a lack of protection in war zones and regions of political instability.

Joining us here at Animal Partners today to celebrate World Rhino Day are a few tickbirds, whose relationship with the rhino is called mutualism. Ticks and other skin parasites make the rhinoceros itch to the point where he spends a lot of time and energy scratching himself on rocks and trees. Tickbirds eat ticks and flies from the backs of rhinoceroses, giving the rhino some relief from the itching while getting a meal for themselves at the same time. 

Here is my poem in honor of this symbiotic relationship:

Animal Partners by Scotti Cohn, Illustrated by Shennen Bersani / Arbordale Publishing

Tickbird's Free Lunch
by Scotti Cohn

Said a rhino to a tickbird,
sitting in a tree,
"The bugs are really biting
so lunch is on me."

copyright Shennen Bersani

The tickbird hopped
on the rhino's back,
ate lunch and dinner
and a bedtime snack.

And here is a collage of rhinoceros photos I have taken over the years!

photos copyright Scotti Cohn