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article imageHow do barnacles have sex?

By Tim Sandle     Jan 17, 2013 in Science
Just how barnacles reproduce has confounded scientists for many years and working it out has proved surprisingly difficult. However, now a new Canadian research paper sheds light on the process.
The paper refers to research carried out on Pollicipes polymerus gooseneck barnacles along the coast of the northeast Pacific. According to Science Now, research team found that, using genetic tests, that barnacles can transfer sperm without making direct contact via their famously extendable parts. The research has shown that barnacles have sperm-delivery organs that stretch out about half a body length.
However, contrary to what was thought previously, the male barnacle does not make contact with the shell of the female barnacle (these terms are a little loose since many barnacles are hermaphrodites). Instead, barnacles reproduce using sperm transported by water.
According to science website Phys Org, this process has been elegantly termed “spermcasting”.
The reason this has been a conundrum from scientists is because barnacles do not do very much. Most simply glue themselves head-end down in one spot for their entire adult lives, which can last for decades.
The study was led by Richard Palmer of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
More about barnacles, Reproduction, Asexual reproduction, Shells
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