Critters of the Chesapeake Bay. Barnacles. What is a Barnacle?. You may have seen barnacles along the shoreline attached to pilings or rocks. What is a Barnacle?. They are a common sight along the Bay’s tidal zones. Some might think they are some type of mollusk. What is a Barnacle?.
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You may have seen barnacles along the shoreline attached to pilings or rocks.
They are a common sight along the Bay’s tidal zones.
Some might think they are some type of mollusk.
Actually, they more closely related to the blue crab than the blue mussel.
They are crustaceans!
Barnacles are small shrimp like organisms that “attach their heads to a hard object, build a house, and kick food into their mouths with their feet”.
There are two major groups of barnacles.
The gooseneck barnacles are shown here.
In our area, these are only found in the ocean where they attach to some floating object.
The other group consist of the acorn barnacles.
The most common type in our area is the bay barnacle.
Young barnacles are called naupli. These naupli swim around in the plankton going through several molts.
Barnacle naupli are very common members of inshore plankton samples.
Eventually the young barnacle will develop into a cyprid larva and find a suitable spot to attach and spend its life.
Once the barnacle has attached to an object, it’s there for the rest of its life!