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Barnacles

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Sophie J
3265.  Mon Dec 15, 2003 7:22 am Reply with quote

Mr Arthrobalanus
by Simon Carnell

'Mr' Arthrobalanus
you're an ill-formed monster

with eyes in your stomach, binocular eyes.
Distinctly deviant,

you're an angel
dancing on the pinhead of yourself,

fishing for food with your feet.
Peered hard and long enough at,

you're a grain containing
a strange new world.

From your squatter's nutshell
the whole of creation

is unfolding, like a dropped into water
Japanese paper flower.

s: Darwin and the Barnacle, Rebecca Stott

 
Jenny
3272.  Mon Dec 15, 2003 9:27 am Reply with quote

Thanks Sophie - I like the poem. I haven't come across either poem or poet before.

 
Sophie J
3459.  Thu Dec 18, 2003 10:47 am Reply with quote

A baby barnacle that makes its home on a living creature can often change the sex of the creature it lives on.

A cyprid is a barnacle baby before it is grown up enough to be called a barnacle itself. In order to become a barnacle it has to attach itself to a ‘host’, or it will die. The host can be a volcanic rock, some wood, a boulder, or it can be living – like a whale or a crab. If the cyprid attaches itself to the latter, it becomes a parasitic barnacle. Rather than feeding using its legs, it burrows into its host and absorbs nutrients directly from its body. When attached to the host the barnacles castrate the host and cause it (the crab, for example) to behave as if it is carrying eggs. The reproductive part of the cyprid grows outside of the crab’s body and can be fertilised by a male barnacle.
It’s not just crabs that parasitic barnacles attach themselves to, but I think the host has to have a weak enough shell or skin to be penetrated by the cyprid.

s: EBR

 

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