Symbiotic relationships in nature are ones in which two organisms benefit each other's survival. There are many examples that can be given, but one of the most interesting is the Rufous woodpecker of India and Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) and the black tree ant.

The main diet of the Rufous woodpecker is black tree ants. One of the main items in the diet of the black tree ants is bird eggs. In the spring of the year when the woodpeckers get ready to lay their eggs, they will find a nest of the black tree ant and put their nest in the ant's nest. This ant nest is about the size of a football, and the woodpecker will make an opening in the side of the nest and will carve out a six-inch-wide chamber in the center of the nest. While this is going on, the ants do not attack the woodpecker even though some ant larvae are killed as the nest is being built. Once the bird has laid its eggs, it will not eat any of the ants of this colony nor will it allow any other woodpeckers to do so.

Scientists have not been able to totally explain how the woodpecker identifies the ants of the colony, but it will not eat them even when distanced from the nest. The arrangement offers great advantages to both the bird and the ants. Chance explanations of how an instinctive relationship like this can come about are imaginative at best, and we would suggest that symbiotic relationships like this are an excellent example of design that are built into the creation. We can truly see the reality of God through the things He has made (Romans 1:19-22).

--Reference: The Wonders of Life on Earth, Life Books, New York, 1960, page 237.

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