Friday, January 19, 2018

What’s a Barnacle?

September 1, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

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You’ve probably heard adults complaining about barnacles growing along the bottom of the boat. What are barnacles and why do they make people so mad?

whats a barnacle 2There are over 1,000 different kinds of barnacles and all of them form crusts on items and living things that sit and live below the water. Relatives of lobsters and crabs, barnacles start out as eggs and grow into hard little animals that attach to surfaces and feed from whatever they can grab as it floats by.

The average undisturbed barnacle can live for five to 10 years. Besides angry boaters, barnacles have lots of other enemies in the water that want to eat them. Even though they have a hard shell, barnacles are easily overcome because they cannot escape once they stick to things and they don’t have the ability to fight back. They survive as a group by doing two things quite well: they grow rapidly and they multiply in very large amounts.

Barnacles on the bottom of a boat slow it down, so that’s why many boat owners paint the bottoms of their vessels with paint that repels barnacles and drives them to cling to other surfaces. Besides boats, you will find barnacles on engines, moorings, and anchors that sit for a long time in the water. You can spot them on rocks and docks when the tide is low. The little creatures also attach themselves to whales, crabs, turtles, and other water-dwellers.

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Barnacle feeding video

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