Bulletin 1 - March 1977: Stalked Barnacles in Abu Dhabi

Stalked Barnacles in Abu Dhabi

by John Scott

Since December 1976 I have noticed that large numbers of stalked barnacles (similar to the Goose Barnacle of the western areas of Britain) are being washed up on the Corniche beach attached to pieces of driftwood. Last winter I noticed a few and I have never seen them during the summer.

Barnacles (Cirripedia) are a form of crustacean, which after an initial juvenile free-floating or swimming stage, attach themselves to some hard surface. A series of plates of lime are secreted to protect the body of the animal. The legs (or cirri) are not used for locomotion as in other crustaceans but for catching food. They protrude from the shell like long delicate feathers.

The stalked barnacle found in Abu Dhabi has a bright orange stalk (technically termed a peduncle) which is not covered by any shell and attaches the barnacle to a piece of wood. There are five white plates, not fused together, from which protrude the brown cirri. The largest individual shells I have seen are about 3cm long.

These barnacles are probably of the genus Lepas and I would be interested to hear from anyone who can provide more information about their occurrence in the Gulf.



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