Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player


Search in the Encyclopedia

Goose barnacle


stem up to 75 centimeters long, body up to 5 millimeters


stem reddish brown, body white to greyish blue





  • Dut: Eendenmossel
  • Lat: Lepas anatifera
  • Eng: Goose barnacle
  • Ger: Gemeine Entenmuschel
  • Dan: Langhalse
Goose barnacles washed ashore, Foto Fitis,

Goose barnacle

Goose barnacles have a misleading name. They have nothing to do with geese. Just like acorn barnacles, goose barnacles are crustaceans. However, unlike acorn barnacles, goose barnacles stand on a stalk. They regularly stick out a 'dip-net' to fish food from the water. The dip-net is made up of transformed legs, similar to that of the acorn barnacle. Up till the 17th century, one thought that goose barnacles grew on trees and that they were larvae from barnacle geese. In fact, that's how the goose got its name! The stems of the barnacle in particular are a delicacy in southwestern Europe.

  • Distribution and habitat

    During the January storm of 2007, lots of goose barnacles washed ashore on Texel, and probably elsewhere as well. They were attached to planks of wood and other objects. However, goose barnacles don't live in Dutch waters. They come from southern seas; those that wash ashore in the Netherlands are carried by the current. They can even attach their stem to seaweed and ships.

  • Reproduction
    , Bert de Boer

    Goose barnacle with extended penis.