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Freaky Oregon Coast Video: Barnacles That Chat With Each Other

Published 10/11/2018 at 4:24 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection Staff

Freaky Oregon Coast Video: Barnacles That Chat With Each Other

(Oregon Coast) – Tidepools, it turns out, can make the freakiest noises.

Case in point: barnacles on the Oregon coast that appear to talk among themselves.

The mind-bending video of the noise is featured here, with footage thanks to Haystack Rock Awareness Program in Cannon Beach.

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The mind-bending video of the noise is featured here, with footage thanks to Haystack Rock Awareness Program in Cannon Beach.

“This summer I issued a challenge to the Haystack Rock Awareness Program in Cannon Beach: ‘since you’re around tidepools all the time, see if you can record the sounds that barnacles make,” said editor Andre' Hagestedt.

The group accepted and did just that. It’s remarkable documentation, really.

Acorn barnacles make these weird noises because they live inside two shells, and when something comes near them (it takes as little as a shadow), they shift around inside their dwelling, thus making a rattling or clacking noise.

The noise comes from the tiny creatures moving around inside their shells. Keith Chandler, manager of Seaside Aquarium, said sometimes you can see them squirming around in there.

You can actually see this in the video: at one point a tiny critter moves inside the crusty shell.

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“It happens when they twist around inside their shells,” Chandler said. “When something disturbs them. If something pokes your eye, you're going to move your head around.”

The acorn barnacle's scientific name is Balanus glandula, and they're extremely common to the Oregon coast and indeed the entire U.S. and Canadian shorelines.

Inside these two shells sits a tiny arthropod, which means it’s an invertebrate animal that has an exoskeleton, a segmented body, and paired jointed appendages. The other really trippy thing about them: according to Chandler, they live inside those shells at an odd angle where the forehead of the creature is actually stuck to the inside of the shell.

The bottom part is a feathery pair of legs, which stick out and are used to grab food.

“They feed on plankton when the tide is high,” Chandler said. “When the tide is low, they close up. They stick their little fan thingy out to grab the plankton. They're really fun to watch.”

Those legs actually bring in the oxygen to the creature as well, acting like gills, in a sense.

The Seaside Aquarium usually has these on display, although you can’t hear the sounds because they’re in a tank. Oregon Coast Lodgings for this event - Where to eat - Map and Virtual Tour

 

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