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The blowholes of a grey whale, with barnacle epibionts

An epibiont is an organism that lives on the surface of another living organism.[1] An epibiont is usually considered harmless to the host; in this sense, the relationship between the two organisms can be considered neutralistic or commensalistic. Typical epibionts are barnacles, remoras and algae, all of which live on many larger marine organisms, such as whales, sharks, sea turtles and mangroves. The host of the epibiont is typically referred to as the basibiont.[2]


  • Epiphytes are plants that grow on the surface of other plants.
  • Epizoic organisms are those that live non-parasitically on the surface of animals.[3] Examples of epizoic species include mosses, algae, and fungi growing on Gymnopholus weevils, and bryozoans (moss animals) growing on other animals.

See also[edit]

  • Epiliths, organisms that that grow on rocks
  • Zoochory, seed dispersal by animals