John Lindsey’s March 10 Weather Watch about barnacles made memories gleam.
In August 2011, I found a shell on San Simeon State Beach but was unable to identify the creature.
I sent a photo to Dr. George Matsumoto at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing. He replied, “Very very cool!! You don’t see these very often. It’s the plates/skeleton of the gray whale barnacle!”
This barnacle lives only on the gray whale.
First and second graders in the Cambria Grammar School have so enjoyed looking at shells of acorn and common goose barnacles I’ve brought from the beach.
Now I’ve added the shell of the Cryptolepas rachianecti. “Where does this barnacle live?” I ask.
“Wow!” they shout as I show them a large photo of a grey whale with barnacles riding along.
Rebecca Stott’s book “Darwin and the Barnacle,” about Darwin’s eight years of research on barnacles, offers an engaging story of human interests and barnacles’ intricate lives interacting.
May you find a grey whale’s barnacle shell on the beach!