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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The rabbit and the barnacle

Can you guess what these two species have in common?

Black-tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus).  Found in both grassland/shrubland and dune habitats.  Their numbers seem relatively low on Bodega Head right now.

Pelagic Gooseneck Barnacle (Lepas anatifera).  After strong winds in spring, found washed in on beaches attached to various floating objects, e.g., wood, seaweed, and plastic (even toy dinosaurs!).

Here are a few close-ups taken under a microscope.  Notice the long fan-like cirri (legs) expanded for feeding, the long peduncles (stalks), and the delicate shell plates.

And I can't resist including a couple of photos of the cyprids, the stage between the early larval form (nauplius) and the sessile adult form.  They are small (but relatively large for barnacle cyprids), blue, and teardrop shaped.  The cyprids attach to an object head first, and then metamorphose into juvenile barnacles.

So what do a rabbit and a barnacle have in common?  Both of these species have very similar latin names Lepus and Lepas (both basically pronounced Leap'-us).

Happy Leap Year! 

1 comment:

Romie said...

Happy "Lepus" or "Lepas" year to you! What big ears that Rabbit has!