germaine's picture

Bizarre sea creature

Observed: 30th May 2009 By: germaine

Ball shaped central (slightly spongey) component, from there were many protuberances, with a small base where they were attached to the sponge, and tipped with translucent grey shell like attachments. When in water one noticed that inside these shells were a multitude of very slender feelers.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


Jonathan's picture

These look like goose neck

These look like goose neck barnacles, but what they are stuck in to (if they are) I have no idea. Fascinating!

University of Edinburgh and Biodiversity Observatory (OU)

the naturalist man's picture

Gooseneck barnacle

These are gooseneck barnacles, my guess is they are attached to a piece of sea-worn plastic.

These are the barnacles people thought were the eggs of barnacle geese. They are washed up on shore with the Autumn storms when barnacle geese appear in Britian from their breeding grounds further north. Therefore, people as late as the 18th century put two-and-two together and made five - assuming the geese had hatched out of the barnacles. It was so ingrained as a 'fact' in the 12th century that Gerald of Wales,a famous Welsh monk, in his work "Itinerarium Cambriae" - "Journies through Wales" claimed to have actually seen the geese coming out of the barnacle shells on a beach in Pembrokeshire.

Graham Banwell

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germaine's picture

goose-neck barnacles

Having looked at more pictures of goose-necked barnacles, they do look very similar. However, there were many of them washed up on the shore and all of them had the distinctive central spongey component. It isn't plastic (by touch, and the probability that there would be 100 or so similarly shaped plastic balls for the barnacles to attach themselves to is infitessimally small). Is there some ball like species (a sea sponge maybe) that looks like this, that could have formed some kind of symbiotic relationship with the barnacles?


bobthebirder's picture

buoy barnacles

There are a number of barnacles in this group. The buoy barnacle is one of the ones that makes its own float, although they have to start on a small floating object initially, which becomes hidden inside the barnacles' own float. I've never sen them in this country, although they are supposed to occur.

Bob Ford

ChrisMcA's picture

buoy barnacle

'My' Collins shore guide describes the buoy b. as secreting a white float resembling polystyrene,(yellow maybe a variant or by degradation) & google pictures shows many almost identical pics of them with yellow floats. But Pollicipes p. looks very different in Collins

ChrisMcA's picture

more Buoy

further to bobthebirder I've photoed them on Gower in about 2007, one even attached to an old vellela vellella, & many were distinctly blueish.

Jonathan's picture

This species has been spotted

This species has been spotted in South Africa too. See this on iSpot South Africa:

University of Edinburgh and Biodiversity Observatory (OU)