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Interdependence 101

Interdependence is the idea that all species depend on one another in some way. This connection is very important to the health of the rainforest because it helps the rainforest survive from the bottom of the forest floor to the top of the rainforest canopy.

The Halloween Crab shown below is found only in the rainforests of Central America. The crab makes its home on the forest floor where it makes burrows underneath the ground. How does this tiny creature contribute to the rainforest? By carrying leaves into their burrows, the crabs help the soil get the nutrients it needs. Their diet of seeds helps to make sure that new plants can grow. Finally, their burrows also provide a safe habitat for other arthropods such as insects, spiders and other crabs.

interdependent relationships In Rainforest - EdTechLens
Interdependent relationships do not happen quickly — in fact, most interdependent relationships have developed over many, many years. These connections take many different forms too. For example, one kind of interdependent relationship would be the bees and butterflies that help pollinate many kinds of flowers or the bats and birds that carry pollen to other areas so that new plants can grow. Even a predator-prey relationship is a form of interdependence. When one animal eats another, it is getting the food it needs to survive.

Something to Think About: Why are interdependent relationships necessary for any ecosystem to survive? Can you think of any examples of interdependent relationships where you live?

Rainforest Kids Science curriculum connection: Unit 2: Chapter 2, Lesson 3, Grades K-5

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