What's on that whale? | WildWhales
Barnacles and whale lice are a fact of life for gray whales; there are hundreds of pounds of barnacles on gray whales. These barnacles attach themselves to. Barnacles are arthropods contained in the class Crustacea along with lobsters, crabs and shrimp. They're believed to be one of the oldest. Since the barnacle is a filter feeder, it also gets access to more water (and food) due to the relationship. The whale is unaffected. This is an example of which.
There are three types of symbiosis.
What's on that whale?
In mutualism, both species benefit from the relationship. In parasitism, only one species benefits from the relationship and causes significant harm to the other. Commensalism, in which only one species benefits without causing significant harm to the other, is the type of symbiosis between barnacles and whales. Cementing the Relationship Barnacles begin their lives as free-swimming larvae, progressing through six larval stages.
When they reach the last, or cyprid, stage, they settle onto the skin of a whale, where they complete their metamorphosis into juvenile barnacles. The juveniles -- tiny creatures resembling shrimp -- secrete cement that hardens into the hard, calcareous plates that surround them throughout their entire lives. As the cement plates meld together, the whale's skin is pulled into the spaces between the plates, permanently fusing the barnacles to the whale.
A Whale of a Ride For the entirety of the barnacles' lives they'll exist as diminutive hitchhikers on the backs and bellies of whales. 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.Removing barnacles from sea turtles!!! VERY SATISFYING!!!
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. Even whales, animals we usually envision as having sleek, smooth skin, can carry hundreds of kilograms of these hitchhikers on their outer surfaces. For whales like humpbacks and greysthe two most common hitchhikers found on their bodies are barnacles and whale lice.
In fact, if you spot a whale, look closely at its skin and you may find yourself not just looking at one large cetacean, but an entire community of living things.
Hitchhikers have a bad rap Often these hitchhikers are referred to as parasites, but that term may not always be best when describing the complex relationship between two species.
A parasite is an animal that benefits from an interaction with another species, called its host, at the expense of the host. Just like people, whales can have tapeworms. The largest tapeworm in the world was found in a whale, and measured over 30 metres long! Another type of relationship between two species is called commensalism, where one species benefits from an interaction, while the other remains unaffected.
Barnacles on some types of whales have a commensal relationship. The barnacles benefit from having a place to settle and filter food from the passing water, while the whales do not seem to suffer any negative consequences from their presence.
The Symbiotic Relationship Between a Barnacle Living on a Whale's Skin | Animals - misjon.info
Unbelievably, one healthy humpback whale was found to have kg of barnacles growing on it! Although that seems like quite a heavy load, that amount of weight for a whale would be the equivalent of a human wearing shorts and a t-shirt.
In some situations, this barnacle coverage can actually act like a suit of armour. By rolling, they present the attacking whales with a back full of hard, sharp barnacles — a much tougher surface to penetrate.
Have you seen grey or white patches of barnacles on whale skin?