Finally, the truth about barnacle sex is revealed | Science News


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Finally, the truth about barnacle sex is revealed

Genetic analysis shows that the sessile crustaceans can broadcast sperm in water

11:41pm, January 15, 2013

Confounding more than a century of received wisdom about crustacean sex, genetic tests show that at least one kind of barnacle can transfer sperm without making direct contact via their famously extendable parts.

The Pollicipes polymerus gooseneck barnacles along the coast of the northeast Pacific have sperm-delivery organs that stretch out about half a body length, which is modest by barnacle standards. Many biologists presumed that barnacles deliver sperm to a mate only by reaching with these impressive organs into the space within a neighbor’s shell.   

Yet genetic markers show that

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