Goose Barnacles

Usually, contacts with pedunculate barnacles are casual, as when vacationers walk the sandy beaches of say Manuel Antonio Parque Nationale, Costa Rica. There, frequently, they may be observed attached to bottles, pieces of wood, and plastic - almost anything that floats ashore on the tides. Or, contact may be purposeful and dangerous, as it is for Galacian barnacle fishermen and their families who almost daily risk their lives scraping barnacles from the rugged rocky coast of northwest Spain for the restaurant market (Pohl, Otto, N. Y. Times 8-22-01). Fairly recently, pedunclate barnacles have appeared as specialty offerings, delicacies, in some restaurants in New York. To our knowledge, however, no octolasmids are sought for food by humans, most likely because of their small size, the mature adults being no more than an inch in length and rarely thicker than a match stick in cross section through the peduncle. Except for an occasional fisherman whose curiosity might be aroused by observing them on the exoskeleton, notably on the carapace, ambulatory appendages, and exposed mouthparts of crabs and lobsters, ostolasmids generally escape notice. Crab fishermen who have had difficulty keeping recently caught crabs alive until they can get them to market have reported that, on inspection, such “bad” or “sour crabs” often have heavy infestations of octolasmids in the gill chambers.