Wednesday, June 01, 2016

By the billions

Barnacles. On some beaches, the rocks are covered with the critters. Sometimes they're like a dusting of sugar over the whole area; sometimes they're sprinkled on larger stones only. Sometimes they're a thick layer, half an inch or more deep, half eaten by gulls.

I'm always conscious, walking over these stones, of the myriads of tiny lives I'm crunching underfoot. I try to walk lightly, as if that makes any difference when you're a quarter of an inch tall and I'm an Alice in Wonderland mile high. I try to step mainly on smooth stones, when they're available. But I know my passage down the beach is marked by dead and dying crab food. (Sorry, little guys!)

Sitting on a mostly bare rock, watching a tide pool, waiting for the little leggy beasties to forget my shadow and come out of hiding, I turned the camera on the closest barnacle communities.

Barnacled rocks, upper intertidal zone, Rotary Beach.

Barnacles on a stick. Common acorn barnacles.

Barnacles on yellow goop*. Small, smaller, smallest.

Multi-generational community. Grandfather barnacles, one dead and gone. Medium- and junior-sized barnacles, pure white. And the newest youngsters, tiny brown ovals, settling in. (For an idea of the sizes, the snails are about a quarter of an inch long, or less.)

*goop. Technical term, meaning soft, unidentifiable stuff. Could be eggs, could be algae, could be sponge, could be seaweed. Could be a mix.

1 comment:

  1. Mmmmm - barnacles on a stick - sounds like some kind of county fair fare.


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