Liv­ing Space

Asian Diver (English) - - News - By Chris­tian Skauge

Many an­i­mals in the ocean de­pend on other an­i­mals for liv­ing space, food and shel­ter. They form re­la­tion­ships which may last for a life­time, and have adapted per­fectly to their par­tic­u­lar choice of real es­tate

One of my favourite things in the ocean is an­i­mals that live on other an­i­mals. There’s a sur­pris­ing ar­ray of crit­ters that have adapted to this some­what pe­cu­liar way of life, of­ten hid­ing in plain sight thanks to near per­fect cam­ou­flage. Echin­o­derms are es­pe­cially re­ward­ing and har­bour sev­eral species of shrimp, crabs and squat lob­sters that form long-term re­la­tion­ships with their hosts, en­joy­ing free pro­tec­tion, lo­co­mo­tion and food. In gen­eral, these types of re­la­tion­ships are called sym­bio­sis – but as in life, not ev­ery re­la­tion­ship is equally ben­e­fi­cial to both par­ties in­volved.

The most com­mon sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ship is

com­men­sal­ism, when one species ob­tain ben­e­fits like food or lo­co­mo­tion from an­other species, with­out giv­ing any ben­e­fit or caus­ing harm to the host

FEA­TURE LIV­ING SPACEA tinyLis­so­carci­nus crabIM­AGE: Chris­tian Skauge

CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP LEFT: A spec­i­men of Isopoda sp. on a gor­gonian, a com­mon clown­fish mak­ing its home in an anemone, a trop­i­cal striped triplefin, a bull hy­droid crab in soft coral, and a crinoid goby fishOP­PO­SITE PAGE: A com­men­sal shrimp, Per­i­climenes cor­nu­tusIMAGES: Chris­tian Skauge

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