Lepas pectinata Click to enlarge image
Goose barnacles, Lepas pectinata Image: Dr Isobel Bennett
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    pectinata
    Genus
    Lepas
    Family
    Lepadidae
    Order
    Pedunculata
    Subclass
    Cirripedia
    Subphylum
    Crustacea
    Phylum
    Arthopoda
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    2.5 cm

Introduction

This and other goose barnacles have long rubbery stalks and are usually found in large groups either attached to floating objects, on wharves and piers or washed up on the shore.

Identification

Two major types of barnacles are found in Australian waters - the goose barnacles and the acorn barnacles. Both have a tough shell covering on the outside, which may lead some people to believe that barnacles are more closely related to snails than they are to crabs and lobsters. However on the inside barnacles are very much crustaceans, having jointed legs, which they use to catch small particles of food.

Habitat

Goose barnacles live on intertidal beaches and in coastal waters and oceans.

Distribution

Goose Barnacles are found in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. Common overseas.

Other behaviours and adaptations

Throughout the Middle Ages a legend evolved that goose barnacles were in fact goose eggs. It was believed that when geese disappeared in winter, their 'eggs' (or goose barnacles) floated back to shore.