Today, over at Carl Zimmer's blog, The Loom, he posted a video created by CreatureCast. CreatureCast is a site devoted to spreading information on various critters and concepts in Biology. Often, the organisms mentioned are a bit on the odd side, so you know I absolutely love it.
In this instance, the organism featured is Symbion pandora, an odd little critter that lives solely on the mouth-parts of the Norway Lobster (Nephrops norvegicus). They were discovered only in 1995 and were so unique they had to be given their own phylum, Cycliophora. Between then and now, two other species have been discovered, all three of which are within the same genus and all having similar life cycles.
Symbion pandora, and its two relatives, are commensal symbiotes with their lobstery homes. This means that they benefit from the relationship while the lobster is unaffected. These creatures simply live on the mouth-parts and filter bits of food and not much else. They have no known predators (other than those who feed on their host lobster) and have only one real worry, the lobster's molting process. It is during this time that the more complex of Symbion pandora's two modes of reproduction comes into play. At this point, I shall let the creative minds behind CreatureCast take over and explain to you this rather interesting process.