Amazing Facts » What are barnacles?

What are barnacles?If you have been to the sea coast you might have seen barnacles. Many a barefoot runner on the seashore finds his foot lacerated when he accidentally steps on a barnacle.

Barnacles, lie crabs and lobsters, their distant cousins, are members of the phylum Arthropoda, the largest and most diverse group of animals on earth. Barnacles alone account for more than 1200 known species. Some are fresh water inhabitants while a few live as parasites on other animals. Some of them, like the acorn barnacle, grow directly on a hard rocky surface while others like the goose barnacle attach to it by means of a stalk.

Life as a barnacle is not easy. A marine barnacle living in the inter-tidal area is alternately lashed by fierce waves one moment and roasted by the sun the next. When exposed to the sun, barnacles stop all activities and concentrate on keeping themselves moist. They live in shells made of calcium carbonate, (the substance found in marble and chalk) and rely on the tides to bring their food. Barnacles have six pairs of legs that form a type of net to filter plankton which is their food.

Courtesy : The Hindu

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