Opportunistic Behaviors: The Whale Shark, Cormorant, and Remora
Filmed In Mexico’s Baja California in 2012, the footage of cormorants - showing what I call “opportunistic behaviors” - is still being talked about among marine biologists and nature lovers to this day.
In the video, a cormorant is seen diving down towards a whale shark, prying off a remora attached to said shark. After catching what looks like an easy meal, the cormorant dashes away. What an interesting dynamic!
A remora, aka suckerfish, is a ray-finned fish that latches on to other bigger fish with their suction cup heads. They pretty much feed off of the bigger fish’s scraps and get a free ride in the open sea. This is a kind of commensalism symbiotic relationship where one benefits and the other neither benefits nor is harmed in the process.
However, I think whale sharks can have an increase of drag when too many remoras latch on. With the cormorant's help, I can only assume that the relationship between the two is mutalisitic. There’s still so much to learn from these beautiful creatures!
Cormorants can dive up to 150 ft (46 meters) deep to find themselves food, and this new behavior shows us that wild animals (in this case) dive for opportunities that can possibly make their lives a bit easier.
This project was super fun, and with so much research, rough sketches and edits, I’m happy it turned out the way that it did. Hours upon hours of many “failed attempts” led me to this final piece. But I guess I wouldn’t call them actual “failures,” and it only showed me (again) that trial and error is inevitable. So bring on the failures! Let’s see what the new year brings.