The LARGEST Barnacles I’ve Ever Seen IN All My Years At The Dock

I never knew there was a fleshy animal living inside the razor sharp barnacle enclosures.  Tuffy brought this cluster of barnacles that had grown around a black fishing net float. In many of the pictures I included a quarter so you can get an idea of the scale of these humongous creatures.  I also got some pretty decent video of the creatures opening their enclosures and the organism alive coming in and out of it.  It’s straight out of Aliens.  There are many pictures on the Barnacle Wikipedia page but nothing like these. It is a very comprehensive wiki page and interesting reading about the life cycle,adult anatomy and fossil records of barnacles.

From Wikipedia-

Barnacle
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia-

Thyrostraca, Cirrhopoda (meaning “curl-footed”), Cirrhipoda, and Cirrhipedia.

A barnacle is a type of arthropod belonging to infraclass Cirripedia in the subphylum Crustacea, and is hence related to crabs and lobsters. Barnacles are exclusively marine, and tend to live in shallow and tidal waters, typically in erosive settings. They are sessile suspension feeders, and have two nektonic larval stages. Around 1,220 barnacle species are currently known.[1] The name “Cirripedia” is Latin, meaning “curl-footed”.

Click on any of the pictures for the full sized versions- especially the first one where you can really see the moving organism. Video coming tonight

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For comparisons sake look at the size of these barnacles which are more common and grow on our lobster traps.  For scale the yellow wire they are attached to is less than a half a centimeter thick-

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15 comments

  • they are wicked scary..

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  • They are exquisity beautiful! Gems of the sea.

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  • Okay, time to dip them in some corn meal batter and deep fry ’em.

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  • Kevin, aka 'kevinshoots'

    They eat boats (and anything else that gets in their way) !@#$%

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  • The first photo, wonderful photo – looks like such a shy delicate alien creature looking us over.

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  • soy sauce, sherry, ginger, scallions. steam.

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  • Seriously, has anyone ever eaten one of these creatures? I only smashed ’em for bait when I was a kid.

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  • OMG Joey, Such phenomenal pictures. You deserve a prize for these. I love barnacles. If I ever found any like this I would puy it on my bookcase with all my lobsta , pirate, lighthouse & shell stuff and cherish it. Beautiful job.

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  • I no longer feel safe going into the ocean knowing there is baseball size clusters of flesh eating creatures lurking beneath the waters surface…

    How long before they grow to man eating proportions?. I hope we never find out.

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  • Love these pics, spectacular! Thanks for sharing.

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  • Pour white vinegar on them to make them die. The white vinegar is safe to use.

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  • It makes me wounder do they hurt the whales the way they embed themselves in their skins.Love the pictures. Without people like you we would not see the wonders of the world. Thankyou.

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  • When you look at a dying loggerhead turtle whose body is weighted down by a near-total infestation of these parasites, you do not find them beautiful but horribly repulsive. No need to worry about getting attacked by a baseball-sized clump of barnacles roaming through the ocean–barnacles begin as microscopic creatures just past the larval stage. They attach themselves to whales and travel all over its body until they decide where to burrow in and begin growing its shell–a well-oxygenated place on belly, tail, skull, fins. The colonies become huge carpets with each barnacle buried into the whale’s skin or into the shells of other barnacles. Different barnacles species are adapted toward specific whale species, and all whales have some degree of barnacles, in small or huge patches. Although they can add tons of weight, this has little effect on a 50,000 or 80,000 pound adult mammal. However, they do seem to be irritants, and whales have been videotaped scratching against structure to remove them. One film from about a dozen years ago shows a whale coming back repeatedly to a diver who was gently prying barnacles away from the area right by the whale’s eyes; the diver seemed to be “scratching an itch” which the whale found enjoyable or a relief, since it kept returning to get more barnacles removed. The wounds from barnacle attachments and removals can leave the whale’s outer skin removed, subjecting those areas to infections, but the damage seems to be minimal and no one has been able to prove a relationship between adult whale deaths and barnacle infestations. No one has explained whale breachings, but some theorize that one reason for breaching and slapping back onto water surface is to remove barnacles. In aggressive or protective fights between the huge males, the razor sharp edges of a barnacle coating serve as a defensive body armor.

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  • Totally agree. They are like huge ticks. I hate to see them covering the heads of baby Right Whales, and why would a Grey Whale repeatedly come back to a diver willing to scratch around the barnacle close to her eye if it wasn’t’ bothering her? She kept coming back to the diver and stayed still while he gently used his dive knife to pry the barnacle off, and then in the video she swam away. I love to see them dying in the sun on the beach with shore birds breaking them open and eating them. They are horrible. If they want to live on piers, fine. But not on the eyelids and lips of sea turtles and baleen whales, who rub themselves in shallow sand to get rid of the itching. The turtle I saw could not be returned to sea because the barnacles had blinded one eye and deformed her jaws so that she had to be hand fed for the rest of her life. I wish there a way to addict barnacles to invasive Northern Snakeheads, sea lampreys, and Asian carps destroying our rivers.

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