Dugongs are 2.5 to 3-meter (8 to 10-foot) long marine mammals, gentle sirenians that graze the coastal seagrass meadows of the Indian and Pacific oceans. “This dugong in the Philippines,” Noma Dumezweni narrates, “has two sets of companions: the streamlined remoras, seen on sharks and mantas, and striped golden jacks…”
“The golden jacks grab small shrimps that the dugong stirs up. He seems content to have them around. The remoras, on the other hand, seem to trouble him. They don’t seem to be useful cleaners… Most remoras are poop-eaters, just like the shrimp. The dugong hates it. It must be very uncomfortable.”
Remoras also eat parasites and bacteria off the dugong’s skin, a beneficial side effect of their companionship, but this dugong doesn’t seem to be interested. How will the sea cow shake these seemingly-irritating suckerfish?
Watch the Nature video above, a Soul of the Ocean clip from from Nature on PBS. An episode summary:
“Howard Hall, one of the world’s foremost underwater filmmakers, brings to Nature a lifetime of insights into how life in the ocean really works – in surprisingly cooperative communities built on age-old partnerships. Coral reefs turn out to be cosmopolitan cities where relationships thrive: a specialist shrimp, a baby damsel fish, and a porcelain crab all share the protection of an anemone; an urchin and a crab form an unlikely pair; fan corals each support their own kind of seahorse. They are all part of a vast system that only exists because everything is connected. From great whales to turtles, to sharks and tiny blennies, the ocean is full of creatures that need and support each other.”
Next, watch these related videos on TKSST:
• Clear Kayak + Crystal Clear Water + Manatees
• Whale sharks, the gentle giants of Thailand
• Symbiosis and a surprising tale of species cooperation
• Incredible Teamwork From Little Clownfish
• Western jackdaws pluck fur from wild deer in Richmond Park, London
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