General Description

Gooseneck barnacles are a group of barnacles that attach to surfaces using a long, muscular stalk called a peduncle. Many species are covered in calcareous shell plates and use long, feathery limbs called cirri to filter food from the ocean. Body size ranges from just a few millimetres to up to five centimetres. In some cases, stalks have been known to reach up to 80 cm.


Though their shells might resemble those of molluscs, barnacles are actually a type of crustacean and are more related to crabs than snails. Their modified legs called cirri are used to filter plankton and other organic matter from the ocean currents. Most species of gooseneck barnacle anchor themselves on coastal rocks, shipwrecks and driftwood. Some however attach to other marine animals such as whales, turtles, or even jellyfish. One species, Anelasma squalicola, lives as a parasite on deep sea sharks. Barnacles pass through several free-swimming life stages before settling on a suitable substrate to develop into an adult. After this, they become sessile and do not swim.




Intertidal marine on exposed coasts, occasionally pelagic and found on flotsam and other marine animals.

More Information

  • Animal Type


  • Animal SubType


  • Fast Fact

    The word 'barnacle' originally came from a type of bird, the barnacle goose. Throughout the Middle Ages, bird migration was not well understood in Europe. This led to the popular belief that the flocks of geese that migrated from the Arctic had spawned from barnacles that washed ashore. The barnacles, similar in colour and with feathery cirri, were believed to be eggs that spontaneously generated from driftwood.

  • Brief Id

    A type of barnacle that attaches with a long, fleshy foot-stalk called a peduncle.

  • Maximum Size

    85 cm

  • Habitats


  • Diet

    Plankton or Particles

  • Diet Categories

    Plankton, Detritus

  • Endemicity

    Native to Australia

  • Commercial


  • Depths

    Shore (0-1 m), Shallow (1-30 m), Deep (> 30 m)

  • Water Column Locations

    Surface, Midwater

  • Taxon Name


  • Common Name

    Goose Barnacle

  • Kingdom


  • Phylum


  • Subphylum


  • Class


  • Subclass


  • Superorder


  • Order