Lepas anatifera Linnaeus, 1758

Common name(s): Pelagic goosneck barnacle, Pelagic goose barnacle

Synonyms: x
Phylum Arthropoda
 Subphylum Crustacea
 Class Cirripedia
  Order Thoracica
   Suborder Lepadomorpha
    Family Lepadidae
Lepas anatifera on the roots of a driftwood log, Beach #4 near Kalaloch, WA
(Photo by: Dave Cowles 7-1997)
Description:  This gooseneck barnacle (attached by a fleshy stalk) has a flattened capitulum with only 5 plates.  Attaches to floating objects such as driftwood, glass, or plastic.  It has no notch on the side that borders the scutum.  The plates are covered with fine striations.

How to Distinguish from Similar Species: Pollicipes polymerus, the other goosneck barnacle commonly found intertidally, has more than 10 plates in the capitulum and attaches to rocks.  Lepas pacifica has a notch on the side of the capitulum that borders the scutum.  Lepas hilli has smooth plates and 3 or more filamentous growths from the base of the first cirri.

Geographical Range: Cosmopolitan in the open sea (pelagic).  Often found washed up on the beach on the open coast; on our shores not usually washed up south of Point Conception, CA.

Depth Range: Shallow pelagic, usually within a meter of the surface attached to a floating object.

Habitat: Pelagic, attached to floating wood and debris.

Biology/Natural History:  This seems to be the most common pelagic gooseneck barnacle along the Washington coast.  The opening of this barnacle is lined with beautiful scarlet tissue.  The peduncle (stalk) is purplish-brown.  Reaches sexual maturity when the capitulum is about 2.5 cm across.  Fertilization is internal.  Young are brooded in a mass attached to the mantle wall.  Nauplii are released after about a week.

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Dichotomous Keys:
Kozloff 1987, 1996
Smith and Carlton, 1975
Flora and Fairbanks, 1966

General References:
Kozloff, 1993
McConnaughey and McConnaughey, 1985
Morris et al., 1980
O'Clair and O'Clair, 1998
Niesen, 1994

Scientific Articles:

General Notes and Observations:  Locations, abundances, unusual behaviors:

This species can grow up to a very large size (The above specimen had stalks of up to 20 cm long).

Lepas is most frequently seen on driftwood.  Here is the log the above specimens were attached to.
Photo by Dave Cowles at Beach #4, Olympic Peninsula, July 1997

Authors and Editors of Page:
Dave Cowles (2005):  Created original page