Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) cooperative feeding using a bubble net, Tenakee Inlet, Southeast Alaska, USA.
Humpback whales generally have heavy encrustations of barnacles on their throats, pectoral fins and flukes. Whale barnacles are barnacles belonging to the family Coronulidae. Whale barnacles attach themselves to the bodies of baleen whales during the barnacles's free-swimming larval stage. Though often described as parasites, the relationship is an example of obligate commensalism, as the barnacles neither harm, nor benefit, their host. But they are parasitised by whale lice that are actually amphipods: tiny crustaceans that feed off dead skin and pieces of flesh from their host. In normal situations, population of these parasites seem to stay in check, thereby not hurting their large hosts. Cetacean cyamid species are specific to different species of cetaceans and the one that lives on humpbacks is Cyamus boopis.
- Duncan Murrell
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- Contained in galleries
- Humpback Whales - Bubble Net Feeding