Whale barnacle - Wikipedia
Barnacles are arthropods contained in the class Crustacea along with lobsters, crabs and shrimp. They're believed to be one of the oldest surviving animals on. Marine symbiotic relationships are an amazing part of nature! Interestingly, the boxer crab also shares a similar relationship with Also exhibiting an example of a commensal relationship are the whale and the barnacle. Meet Sacculina carcini – a barnacle that makes a living as a real-life body- snatcher of crabs. Unlike most barnacles that are happy to simply.
Symbiotic Sea Life
They derive two basic benefits from this commensalistic relationship. As filter feeders, they depend on the availability of plankton, which they filter into their bodies through feather-like appendages extended through holes in their shells. When the whales swim into plankton-rich waters to feed, so do the barnacles. They are consistently carried from feeding to feeding.
Protection from predators is another benefit. Barnacles attached to stationary objects often fall prey to fish, sea worms, starfish and snails. However, the whale-riding barnacles enjoy a certain degree of protection from the mobility of their enormous bodyguards. The Whale's Perspective For the most part, whale barnacles are harmless, even in astoundingly large numbers.Amazing barnacles on Beached Whale
For example, one humpback whale can host 1, pounds of barnacles without any problems. However, a few exceptions to the rules of commensalism can occur. On some whales, too many barnacles can cause drag.
Minor skin irritations or infections may arise. On the plus side, the barnacles can actually protect the whales, like a suit of armor.
How Do Barnacles Attach to Whales?
Gray whales have been known to roll over when under attack from other whales, presenting their enemies with a back covered in hard, spiny, immovable soldiers. The algae undergo photosynthesis to produce food from sunlight.
The food produced is shared with the coral polyps, which in return provides the algae with shelter and minerals.
This arrangement allows hard corals to build reefs that in turn form the basis of shelter and food for the vast variety of reef life. Many other animals have a similar arrangement with zooxanthallae, including giant clamscarpet anemones and some sponges.
Tiny transparent shrimps about 1cm are sometimes seen among the Carpet anemone's tentacles. It is not certain how they avoid being stung by the tentacles.
Symbiotic Sea Life
The shrimps find refuge and in turn, they may help keep the Carpet anemone clean. A similar arrangement is found between anemonefishes and sea anemones. In commensalism, one living thing benefits at no expense or gain to the other.
Tiny brittle stars may find shelter inside a sponge. While the brittle stars enjoy a continuous flow of food and oxygen, it probably makes no difference to the sponge. The Slipper snail Crepidula sp.