The term mutualism refers to a relationship in biology or sociology that is mutually beneficial to two living things. This relationship can be within the species, between living things from two different species, between individuals in a society and between two societies. Each participant in the mutualistic relationship is called a symbiont.
The bird benefits by having a readily available source of food.
The zebra or rhino benefits from having the bugs removed. Also, when there is a danger to the zebra or the rhino, the oxpecker flies high and makes much noise in order to alert nearby animals to the impending danger (i.e. a predator).
Some foods cannot be digested entirely; so, when these foods are consumed, the bacteria in the digestive system feed on those foods.
The bacteria stay alive.
The human gets help with the process of digestion.
The protozoa benefits by getting food for itself.
The termite benefits by being able to live.
The clownfish has a safe place to live.
The sea anemones are saved by the clownfish from being eaten by their predators, the butterfly fish.
The algae has a place to live.
The spider crab remains camouflaged and safe from predators.
The bee is benefitting by getting food.
The plants benefit from being pollinated.
Humans utilize the oxygen that plants give off and exhale carbon dioxide.
Plants use the carbon dioxide to create that oxygen that the humans need.
The fungus is given life by the ant.
The benefit to the ant is that the fungus is food.
Now you have seen lots of examples of how mutualism works in real life.