Sunday, December 1, 2013
Creature Feature #36: Barnacle
Barnacles belong to the crustacean Family and are sessile suspension feeders - which means they stick in one place and collect food from the water using their feathery modified legs. Most species are hermaphrodites and reproduce sexually - this means that they need a means of transferring their sperm to other individuals. For this purpose, the Barnacle has the longest penis in proportion to body size of any animal. The fertilized egg hatches into a nauplius: a one eyed larvae that grows through several phases until finding a suitable place to settle and assume its adult form.
This species, the goose barnacle, is a delicacy. Back before naturalists became aware of migration, it was assumed that when the barnacles dropped from their goose-like stalk, they would transform into the barnacle goose. This was because no one had ever seen a barnacle goose nest.