This parasite is Cyamus scammoni, a species of whale lice. Whale lice have hooked appendages used to latch onto the outside of whales where they scavenge for food on the whale’s body, including eating whale skin. Pictured below are Cyamus scammoni and their unique coiled gills!
Posted by Meaghan K.
Meaghan is a fall intern who is majoring in Marine and Freshwater Biology at Colgate University.
Hurley, D. E., & Mohr, J. L. (1957). On whale-lice (Amphipoda: Cyamidae) from the California gray whale, Eschrichtius glaucus. The Journal of Parasitology, 43(3), 352-357.
Leung, Y. M. (1976). Life Cycle of Cyamus scammoni (Amphipoda: Cyamidae), ectoparasite of gray whale, with a remark on the associated species. Sci Rep Whales Res Inst, 28, 153-160.