Gray Whale Barnacles Cryptolepas Rhachianecti Infest White Whales, Delphinapterus Leucas, Housed in San Diego Bay
A whale barnacle, Cryptolepas rhachianecti (Dall), previously considered an obligate commensal for the gray whale, Eschrichtius robustus (Lilljeborg), infested white whales, Delphinapterus leucas (Pallas), housed in San Diego Bay. The infestation occurred annually between January and April in concert with the northward migration of the gray whale, and did not occur during years when the white whales were housed elsewhere during these months. Although initial infestation elicited no apparent skin response, after successive years of exposure, massive cellular proliferation in the adjacent epidermis resulted in ejection of barnacles from the whales within a few weeks. This increasing epidermal response and the invasion of inflammatory cells at the juncture of skin and barnacle shell is suggestive of an immune reaction to the barnacles.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 1, 1997
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