Keep your friends close and your enemies closer - Interactions with other species...

           As mentioned in the nutrition section, black-necked swans are omnivores, feeding on both aquatic plants and small insects.  These swans are very important organisms within their environment, often being the key manager of aquatic plant populations.  Due to the high levels of algae that these swans consume, they are often the primary regulators of its growth and distribution.  Water conditions are also improved through the regulation of these plants.  Black-necked swans do not forage for food on land unless forced to due to their clumsy feet.  There are some organisms that use black-necked swans as hosts such as Cyathostoma bronchialis (gape worm) and Mallaphaga (feather lice).  These parasitic species can cause neuromotor problems as well as pneumonia in the swans, often leading to premature death.

            Black-necked swans have few predators as adults, but many animals such as minks and foxes feed on their young.  Gulls are also a threat, eating the eggs.  In the 18th century black-necked swans were hunted extensively by humans for their pelts, resulting in thousands of swans being slaughtered.  Presently these swans are no longer hunted, and their overall population has reached over 93,000.
Image of Mallaphaga, a feather lice. Swan cygnet

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