Wednesday, March 6, 2019


Mutualism is a symbiotic relationship in which both species benefit.  A common example of this as the Alligator and the Plover bird.  The Plover bird extracts nourishment for the Alligators teeth and the Alligator gets a free teeth cleaning.

I recently had my own experience with mutualism. 

Last summer I was walking down my alley when I happened upon a baby bunny.  His natural defense was to remain perfectly still which he did while I knelt down beside him to take a photo.  While I was down next to him I said, "You look very tasty, I think I should have you for dinner."  To that the rabbit replied, "I am so small I would hardly make a dent in your hunger, you should wait until I get bigger before you eat me."  This made perfect sense to me and I went along my way.

 Last fall I stepped out my back door and saw the bunny again but this time he was much larger.  "Perfect eating size", I thought to myself and I picked up a landscape rock about the size of a raquetball.  The rabbit saw me doing this and he yelled, "No please don't!".  I dropped the rock and approached the rabbit.  "Why shouldn't I eat you now?  There is plenty of meat on your bones to give me a good sized dinner.".  "Please Eddie", the rabbit whined, "How often do you run into a talking rabbit?  I know you could have a fine meal of me at this point but hear me out.  I would like to barter with you for my life.  I will supply you with rabbit fur for your fly tying and rabbit pellets for your breakfast cereal if you only let me live."  I thought about the rabbits proposal for a moment and said, "Okay I will spare your life through the coming winter to give you a chance to fulfill your end of the bargain.  If you have not given me a good supply of rabbit fur and pellets by then I will send you to the chopping block."  The rabbit then cracked a smile and hopped away.

Every spring I plant Morning Glories along my fence and I leave the vines on my fence through the winter on purpose because it becomes an important food source for the local rabbit population when most of their food supply is buried under the snow.
 You can see how they forage along the fence line leaving little treats along the way.
 I was delighted to see that the rabbit had left a clump of fur for me to tie flies with.
 Oh and look at the pellets.  Once you get past the taste you can really appreciate the fiber content.  It's like Metamucil times one thousand.
 I am going to be eating good at breakfast time.
 Imagine the flies I will tie.
 This is what I refer to as a "Quality Clump".
The hook is ready.
 Guard hairs for the tail.
The fly is complete. This one fly will catch so many trout that will feed me for so many delicious dinners.  I am glad I let the rabbit live.

Dinners are great but breakfasts are better.  I'm kookoo for rabbit pellets!

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