10 Things You Never Knew About the Barnacles Under Your Boat

Existing in multitude in our oceans, they cling to the any strong surface with vigor and purpose. Holding steadfast in defiance to the hulls of our vessels with little regard to consequence, barnacles have solidified their reputation as a maritime menace. How much thought, however, have you put into this oceanic creature plaguing your vessel and your wallet as you shell out money for cleanings and repairs? It’s time to get to know the monster lurking below. Here is a short list to get you better acquainted with what is commonly referred to by avid naval men, “crusty foulers.”

  1. Barnacles are a type of arthropod and related to both crabs and lobsters. Talk about a diverse family!
  2. In Spain and Portugal, there is a type of barnacle that is considered a delicacy. This edible barnacle is called Goose Barnacles.
  3. A buildup of barnacles on the hull of a ship can increase its drag and weight which in turn causes an increase in fuel usage.
  4. Barnacles secrete a substance stronger than any glue created by man. There has even been research into how to replicate its properties for commercial use.
  5. Their plates are made up of calcium which engulfs them completely. These plates are not molted, but rather protect them from predators and dehydration.
  6. They live their life upside down! A barnacle attaches itself onto surfaces headfirst and then sifts through the water with their limbs, or cirri.
  7. Love is never an issue for barnacles because they lack a heart! They have a sinus that pumps blood through its muscles to serve the same purpose.
  8. Most barnacles are hermaphrodites, although self-fertilization is extremely rare.
  9. Barnacles are extremely sensitive to touch, this sense being its dominant sense.
  10. Only one adult barnacle can release over 10,000 larvae!
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