Friday, March 30, 2012

Head over heels

This morning's walk on Fish Hoek beach revealed lots of kelp washed up after last night's storm. Many of the kelp stipes were encrusted with barnacles which are the most fascinating creatures. They are highly modified crustaceans and this is their adult phase. After swimming around the ocean as planktonic larvae, the adults settle down, head first, and cement themselves to a substrate, secreting a shell and extending their legs (or cirri) through a hole at the top to filter out food particles. I think this one might be the White Dwarf Barnacle (Notomegabalanus algicola).
These were the creatures that so fascinated Charles Darwin too.

1 comment:

  1. I always feel sorry for the poor barnacles in a case like this. They have no way to detatch themselves again and make their way back into the ocean to look for a new "home".