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Name the interaction between a whale and the barnacles growing on its back.

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Last updated date: 20th Jun 2024
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Answer
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Hint: Ecology deals with the kinds of interactions and relationships between the various kinds of organisms. The relationship between a whale and the barnacles growing on its back is a kind of interaction where only one species get benefit while the other neither harm nor benefit.

Step by step answer:The relationships and interactions between the various kinds of organisms are known as population interactions. No species on earth is believed to be independent. Every species requires at least one more species for its existence. This is known as co-independence and it is the prime concept behind the population interactions. Due to co-independence, several kinds of population interactions have evolved. In the interaction between a whale and the barnacles, the barnacles are benefitted from the whale. This is because the whale provides them shelter and protection. Also, the leftover food pieces by whale are eaten up by the barnacles. Hence, they are immensely benefited from the relationship. On the other hand, the whale is neither benefited nor harmed from this relationship. This is because the barnacles do not provide anything in return to the whale, but they also do not deprive it of anything. This kind of interaction in which one species is benefitted from the other, but the other species is neither benefitted nor harmed is known as commensalism. The species which is benefitted is known as the commensal and the other species is known as the host. Hence, the interaction between a whale and the barnacles growing on its back is known as commensalism.

Note: The interaction between the whale and the barnacles should not be confused and taken as parasitism, just because the barnacles grow on the back of the whale. This is because parasitic organisms spend their life on the body of an organism, but they cause harm to their host. Parasites feed on the body of their host and intake the nutrition that is manufactured by the body of the hosts.
But in the case of the whale and the barnacles growing on its back, the whale is caused no harm whatsoever, by the barnacles. The barnacles are provided shelter and protection by the whale. In return, the whale is neither benefitted nor at any loss. Hence, this relationship cannot be termed as parasitism.