Monday, January 19, 2015

Sea Turtle's Lament

Barnacles are crustaceans like crabs and lobsters, but barnacles cannot move on their own. Young barnacles are free floating; adult barnacles are permanently attached to the surface of the creatures on which they ride -- for example, sea turtles.

We call this arrangement "commensalism" if the barnacles don't cause any harm to their host. However, this relationship becomes "parasitism" when too many barnacles cause the host to have trouble swimming, which can harm the host.

In Animal Partners, a sea turtle has quite a few questions for the barnacle who is riding on his back.

illustration copyright Shennen Bersani
text copyright Scotti Cohn

Sea Turtle's Lament

Barnacle, o barnacle,
where'd you come from, barnacle?
Were you born or were you hatched?
How'd we come to be attached?

We're not alike, as you can see.
Why are you so stuck on me?
And why my foolish fascination
with such a clingy, crude crustacean?