Here it is- hope you like it:
A barnacle's a crustacean- who knew it?
Darwin did- but Linnaeus- he blew it.
What about its hard shell?
And no claws- what the hell?
It's the nauplius larva that proved it!
Here's a closeup of the barnacle trying to eat the diver. It's ok- he only lost his forearm and his tank. Luckily his diving buddy was nearby and was willing to share his oxygen. (Reminder to never dive alone!)
Really, barnacles are completely harmless unless you are plankton, in which case it's probably pretty scary getting trapped in the cirri ("legs") of the barnacle. Barnacles are suspension feeders, that is, they stick their feathery thoracopods into the water and, essentially, wait to catch whatever swims into their legs and then move the food down to their mouth. Some species of barnacles can actively filter the water by reversing the direction of the cirri and moving their legs in a stroking motion (happens when water currents are slow).
Here is a photo of a striped barnacle, Balanus amphitrite, trying to compete for space with some mussels. (Photo taken on some mysterious black, semi-hard, tar-like formation that formed tide pools over a few years on a stretch of beach on Jekyll Island, GA).
Photo copyright 2008
To all of my fabulous readers and fellow nerds- talk to you after the new year!