Buoy­ant bar­na­cles drift in from USA

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Kent Business Update -

With a num­ber of gales sweep­ing across Kent and the win­ter re­main­ing mild and un­set­tled, there has been much in­ter­est in what is be­ing washed up on the tide­line in south Kent.

Large num­bers of goose bar­na­cles have been found stuck to floats, buoys, drift­wood and plas­tic bot­tles along the tide­line at Dun­geness. Th­ese are amaz­ing crea­tures. The shell is around 40mm in size and has frilly bits that sieve the sea wa­ter for plank­ton. They can live up to three years, at­tach them­selves to any­thing float­ing in the ocean with a long rub­bery foot (called the pe­dun­cle), and use cur­rents to travel the ocean. They are truly a pe­lagic species.

I have come across large clus­ters at­tached to large fish­ing buoys (tagged with Maine USA) and sev­eral poly­styrene boat buoys reg­is­tered in the east­ern USA, which just shows how far th­ese bar­na­cles have trav­elled.

If you are in­cred­i­bly lucky, you might find in the middle of a group of goose bar­na­cles a Colum­bus crab, which also come from the Amer­i­can side of the At­lantic and hide among the bar­na­cle colonies. Sev­eral have been found on Brighton beach and in Dorset, Devon and Corn­wall this win­ter as well as two at Dun­geness.

For more in­for­ma­tion con­tact Owen Leyshon, Rom­ney Marsh/White Cliffs Coun­try­side Part­ner­ship, on 01797 367934 or see www.rmcp.co.uk

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