Barnacle sex!

Ah, back when I was teaching Invertebrate Zoology, Barnacles were one of my favorite animals to talk about. There is just NOTHING that will excite the average college student more than sex-changing hermaphrodite pervy crustaceans with giant (proportionally) penises. Depending on whose estimates you use, when a barnacle is being male, its penis can be up to 8 to 10 times it’s body length.

I’ll wait while you do the calculation for humans, proportionally.

I have always loved the idea of humans with penises the on the scale of barnacles. For one thing, getting out the chain to measure a first down in football might require a lot less equipment.
But I digress.

This little article in Science Daily inspired my trip down happy barnacle memory lane:

“Graduate student Christopher Neufeld and Dr. Richard Palmer from the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta have shown that barnacles appear to have acquired the capacity to change the size and shape of their penises to closely match local wave conditions.

When wave action is light, a longer (thinner) penis can reach more mates, but at times of higher wave action, a shorter (stouter) penis is more manoeuvrable in flow and therefore can reach more mates.”

Don’t worry guys; I’m sure there will be a little blue pill soon that will help you also adjust your width, as well as length. In fact, if half the email I receive is accurate, that day is already here :D

6 thoughts on “Barnacle sex!

  1. One of my biology professors loved to talk about sex in general, but especially barnacles. Thanks to her, my friends and I share an understanding of the phrase “…hung like a barnacle.” She also very enthusiastically described their proportions by saying, “You could mate with your neighbors down the hall!”

  2. It’s not wild sex, but something:
    When I studied intro course in invertebrate zoology I was really amazed by the life cycle of all that is cnidaria. It made me think of the game StarCraft with their Zerg aliens.

  3. Pingback: Hung like a barnacle « The Oyster’s Garter

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