Marine Parasites: Crazy…and Really Cool! | Smithsonian Ocean
A parasitic relationship is one in which one organism, the parasite, lives off of another A few examples of parasites are tapeworms, fleas, and barnacles. Our first example of symbiotic relationships in the ocean is the iconic species congregate to have their mouths and bodies rid of parasites and. They are mutualism, parasitism, commensalism and mimicry. In this post I will provide a few examples of each of these relationships that can be.
Hans Hillewaert by Katrina Lohan Marine parasites may be small in size, but they can be present in very high numbers and put together can weigh even more than all the top predators in an estuary or bay ecosystem! They play an important role in keeping their host population from growing out of control—allowing them to exert power over food webs and ecosystem function.
Parasitic Barnacle on a Crab | Smithsonian Ocean
High parasite diversity is even an indicator of a healthy ecosystem. What makes parasites fascinating to study is that they have had to evolve complex strategies that allow them to live both inside a host and outside in the environment.
Here are a few examples of some crazy and really cool marine parasites: This crab has a parasitic barnacle rooted in its reproductive system. Hans Hillewaert What kind of creature can live on land in cats and in the ocean in seals? The parasite Toxoplasma gondii causes a disease called toxoplasmosis and is known for infecting cats on land.
Symbiotic Relationships in the Ocean – Alana Olendorf e-port
Recently, researchers have found this parasite infecting, and in some instances killing, a variety of marine mammals including California sea ottersHawaiian monk seals, and Pacific harbor seals.
What parasite changes its look as often as its host?
Digenetic trematodes are flatworm parasites with really complicated life cycles. These involve multiple life history stages that look completely different from each other, such as a swimming stage and a cyst stage, where it lies sleeping in host tissues.
This is because the cleaner fish eats harmful parasites and other small sources of food off of the large fish. This gives the cleaner fish a meal, the larger fish is helped because it no longer has these parasites on them.
Some small shrimp can also be cleaners. The fish uses the sea anemone for protection from predators and they live in them. In return, the fish occasionally feeds the sea anemone and the fish also protects it from organisms that might try and eat the anemone.
- Symbionts, Parasites, Hosts & Cooperation
- Examples of Parasitism
- Symbiotic Relationships in the Ocean
A popular example of a fish that does this is a clown fish. In this relationship, the Boxer Crab carries around two anemones that sting and it uses them for protection.
The anemones are benefited because since the crab carries them around, it allows them to be mobile which increases their options for finding food. Parasitism Parasitism is not a mutualistic relationship because only one of the species is benefited.Exploring Ecosystems: Coral Reef Symbiosis - California Academy of Sciences
The parasite gains from the relationship while the other species involved is harmed. One example of a parasitic relationship is between fish lice and small fish hosts. The fish can be killed if there are too many fish lice attached to it.