Letter | Published:

Feeding of Barnacles

Naturevolume 175pages11241125 (1955) | Download Citation



AT the start of an investigation into the rate of feeding of the different species of intertidal barnacles, I was surprised to find that there was very little published information on the methods employed for the capture of food or on the organisms eaten by these ubiquitous animals. Darwin1 noted the presence of Infusoria and Confervae in the gut as well as the remains of quite large Crustacea, and the newly settled spat have been reared on pure cultures of unicellular Algae2; but Gruvel3 and Batham4 have described only a macrophagous method of feeding, whereby animals that touch the extended third to sixth cirri are immediately drawn into the shell by the cirri and masticated by the mouth-parts. It is therefore interesting to report that some experiments in progress show that the adult barnacle can feed on a very wide range of organisms, from a size of 1 mm. down to 2µ.

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  1. 1

    Darwin, C., “A Monograph on the Sub-class Cirrepedia. The Balanidae; the Verrucidae”, 684 (London, 1854).

  2. 2

    Costlow, J. D., and Bookhout, C. G., Biol. Bull., 105, 420 (1953).

  3. 3

    Gruvel, A., “Monographie des Cirrhipèdes ou Thécostracés”, 472 (Paris, 1905).

  4. 4

    Batham, E. J., Proc. Roy. Soc. New Zeal., 74, 359 (1945).

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  1. The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth



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