Written by: Lindsey Wamboldt
Winter is the perfect time to bundle up and get together with your friends and loved ones. With this in mind, we wanted to highlight some of the ocean's coolest animal friendships!
Starting off with a pairing that may be familiar to some - clownfish and sea anemones! Seen in the Disney/Pixar classic, Finding Nemo, and often used as a fun-fact found floating around the Touch Tank Hut, these animals are best buds! These two animals have a symbiotic relationship, which means the animals exist together in a way that benefits them all (Collins). Clownfish are able to swim through the stinging tentacles of sea anemones unharmed due to a mucus coating that covers their skin. Living in the sea anemones offers them protection from predators in the open ocean. The sea anemones also benefit as the movement of the clownfish brings fresh sea water through its tentacles, thus providing it with oxygen!
Photo from: https://twofishdivers.com/blog/marine-symbiosis/
Our next pair certainly understands team work! Gobies and blind shrimps work together to create a safe burrow in the sand. The gobies are fierce protectors and will keep an eye out for predators while the blind shrimp digs the burrow! If the goby sees a threat, it will alert the shrimp and they will take cover. After the burrow is built, the goby will continue to protect its friend, the blind shrimp, and make sure the coast is clear whenever the shrimp goes out of the burrow to eat.
Our final pair really works together to keep each other healthy. Sharks and remora fish are definitely an unlikely pair, given that sharks would usually eat fish of their size! Remora fish will suction on to the underbelly of a passing shark and eat pieces of prey that the shark leaves behind! They also gain protection from other predators because no one wants to mess with a shark! The remora fish will eat parasites off of the shark's skin that would hurt the shark otherwise. What a good friend!
Photo by: Cat Gennaro (https://www.discovery.com/nature/sharks-and-their-interspecies-friendships-pictures)
Whether big or small, predator or prey, ocean friends work together to keep each other happy and safe!