Giant Barnacles, Balanus nubilus, Generous Intertidal Hosts

Balanus nubilus is the Pacific Northwest’s biggest intertidal barnacle. Large ones are about the size of a human fist. They’re big enough to add surface area to crowded intertidal rocks. As they grow, their shells become prime real estate. The giant barnacle in the image below hosts a diverse settlement. Which residents can you identify?


Death doesn’t make the giant barnacle a less generous host. Below, a granular claw crab, Oedignathus inermis, has taken residence in an empty shell.


I wrote a few words about granular claw crabs and giant barnacles in Security for Granular Claw Crabs.

BIG Can Be Beautiful Too!


    1. The barnacles are small to us, but I guess big to the creatures that live upon and around them. It was a fun challenge for me. You’re right, lot of details. Almost to many to see the barnacle! Thank you, Leya.

    1. Hello Noellie, You certainly have an eye for it, so thank you very much. Say thanks so much also for sending along the link to The Big Thaw. You have some wonderful photos and the captions are wonderfully creative. Your dog is beautiful. I got a small out of “oysters waking the plank”, and my favorite was the “…pod of whales” You made my evening.

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