jeudi 13 octobre 2016

Bug sharing

Among many forms of animal behavior, one is very interesting: phoresis.
You can easily see it when looking at an upside down Geotrupes stercorarius, a species of earth-boring dung beetle carrying phoretic mites (Poecilochirus carabi).
In ecology, the term phoresis is an inter-species biological interaction and refers to a form of symbiosis where the symbiont, termed the phoront, is mechanically transported by its host. Neither organism is physiologically dependent on the other.

One of the most famous examples is the remora. They have their front dorsal fins modified into large suckers with which they cling onto a host animal such as a whale, turtle, shark or ray. It is probably a commensal arrangement as the remora can move around on the host, removing ectoparasites and loose flakes of skin, while benefiting from the protection provided by the host.
However sometimes, too much is too much!

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