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Grey whale and whale lice

Grey whale and whale lice

C036/4925

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Credit

CHRISTOPHER SWANN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CHRISTOPHER SWANN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Grey whale (Eschrichtius robustus) and whale lice, close-up. The whale louse is a crustacean that is a parasite on whales. They are found on and around the skin lesions, genital folds, nostrils and eyes of a whale. Here, they are seen near the whale's blowhole. This whale is found in coastal waters, migrating with the seasons from Arctic waters to tropical equatorial waters. It can grow up to 15 metres in length and weigh 16 tonnes. It feeds on crustaceans and worms extracted from seabed sediment. Photographed off Baja California, Mexico.

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