Sloths And Chameleons

2377 Words 10 Pages
Sloths are mostly known for their lazy behavior that consists of eating, hanging and sleeping in trees. Most of the time they are not seen doing ‘noteworthy’ actions but contrary to what many people may think, sloths do have something interesting about them even if all they do is sleep and eat. While cheetahs are the fastest mammals on earth and chameleons can blend into the background, sloths have an interesting ecosystem nestled within their fur. Insects, bacteria and other organisms all live in the outer layer of the sloth’s fur and perform different tasks that can benefit both the sloth and themselves. While algae is able to find efficient shelter in the fur, it also provides benefits to the sloth by causing the fur to turn green and …show more content…
Species have figured out what to gain from another species or what to lose. These different species in the sloth have been discovered to provide benefits for the sloth while at the same time benefitting from the sloth. Some species that inhabit these sloths include algae, moths, and many different types of fungi. Each species serves as a different benefit for the sloth. Living in the big, diverse jungle can be dangerous for the sloth. There are predators that the sloth has to watch out for and vitamins that the sloth needs to consume so it can be healthy. Luckily, one of the species living in the sloth fur can assist with this and in return find shelter in the fur. The algae, trichophilus, feeds on moth waste and acts as a camouflage for the sloth. Sloth fur is coarse and dense making it a perfect place for algae to gown on. The algae finds a foothold in the hair follicle’s cracks and feeds on the water that is collected within the cracks. This allows the algae to become more abundant and spread causing the sloth’s coat to turn into a green tint. This green tint blends the sloth into the background more and disguises it from roaming predators (Pauli, Johnathan 2014). Not only does the algae turn the hair a green tint, it also might “produce exopolymeric substances that may give the hair a desired texture or allow beneficial bacteria to grow” (Suutari, Milla 2010). This beneficial action also allows the algae to …show more content…
There is a recent idea of biomimicry, the designing of modern systems off of natural systems. Engineers and scientists all over the world are examining the natural way nature works and then applying it to some of the modern systems we use today. These techniques can help big buildings with businesses to small little homes save energy and money by applying these ideas to their everyday spaces. Although there have not been specific studies on ways to incorporate some of the ways the symbiotic relationship works between the sloth and its friends, some ideas have been noted. One idea is how the fungi repels different disease carrying species or bugs, another is how the sloths curved spine is able to ease tension from hanging most of the time (Ask Nature 2015). Even if specific ideas have not yet been discovered, it is very beneficial and important to look at the symbiotic relationships, specifically the ecosystem of a sloth. By learning about the way a sloth reacts to other species living on it, we can gain a better understanding of what kind of relationships work well

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