Commensalistic relationship between barnacles and whales

Symbiotic Sea Life

commensalistic relationship between barnacles and whales

Symbiotic relationships between marine creatures are fascinating to observe, and Barnacles and whales have a different type of symbiotic relationship that is Commensalism describes a situation where only one species. Barnacles on some types of whales have a commensalism relationship. The barnacles benefit form having a place to settle and filter food from. The symbiotic relationship between a barnacle and a whale is known as commensalism, which describes an inter-species interaction that benefits at least one.

When they reach the last, or cyprid, stage, they settle onto the skin of a whale, where they complete their metamorphosis into juvenile barnacles.

commensalistic relationship between barnacles and whales

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.

commensalistic relationship between barnacles and whales

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.

The Symbiotic Relationship Between a Barnacle Living on a Whale's Skin | Animals - vlozodkaz.info

They are consistently carried from feeding to feeding. Protection from predators is another benefit.

commensalistic relationship between barnacles and whales

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.

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. In their animal classification, they are of the order Cetacea, suborder Mysticeti.

Symbiotic Sea Life

These whales spend summers in the cooler waters near the Cape and winters in more tropical areas. Another interesting fact Trull provided is that these whales, being mammals with lungs similar to ours, are unlike humans in that they are voluntary breathers.

Humpback Whales feed primarily on sand eels also known as sandlancesthis food source is what leads to their interesting relationship with marine birds. To better illustrate this relationship, Trull outlined the three types of symbiosis: If you think of mutualism as mutually beneficial, and parasitism as one benefitting at the cost of the well-being of the other, commensalism falls right in between.

Commensalism is a type of symbiotic relationship where one species will benefit while not affecting the other species in a positive or negative way.

The relationship between Humpback Whales and marine birds is an excellent example of commensalism.

THE SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN A WHALE AND BARNACLES by Victoria Hulev on Prezi

Humpback Whales will consume up to 1 ton of sand eels every day. When a large school of these fish is located near the surface of the water, the whales will then rise up with their mouths agape and take in mouthfuls of them.

commensalistic relationship between barnacles and whales

This method is particularly effective for the whales to consume the food they need to survive, but it also benefits other species as well. Farther out at sea however, other birds will also get in on the feeding frenzy.

commensalistic relationship between barnacles and whales