George Takei finally gets one wrong

Or, more accurately, George passes along something from someone who got it wrong. From his Facebook feed:

I’m sorry, are you kidding? Barnacles are gorgeous:

They’re sexy:

And they’re delicious (trigger warning for Gordon Ramsay):

Sorry George. Nobody’s perfect, I suppose.


  1. Fred Salvador - The Public Sucks; Fuck Hope says

    Kilograms of flesh Fred has lost to seahorses: 0kg.

    Kilograms of flesh Fred has lost to falling against, scraping arms/ legs/ hands on, or otherwise being in the vicinity of barnacles: Too fucking many kg (approx.).

    The choice is clear.

  2. Michael says

    I visited the seahorse breeding centre on the Big Island of Hawaii last Christmas. They were trying to overcome the problem of people buying (wild) seahorses, having them die in their aquarium, then buying more (wild) to replace it. They have been somewhat successful in breeding seahorses that are more accepting of aquarium life.

    In other words, most people wouldn’t be able to keep seahorses (and probably barnacles) alive in their aquarium anyway.

    Why can’t they have both? Strange question considering most people would probably buy several types of fish for an aquarium.

  3. says

    Several years ago in the Dungeness Wildlife Reserve, inside the curve of the Dungeness Spit, I was able to watch barnacles hunting for the first time in my life. I had known that they *did* hunt, mind you, but I’d never had an opportunity to watch it, and I ended up so fascinated I probably could have crouched there all day or until my spine froze up.

  4. nohellbelowus says

    We should be more charitable during the Christmas season.

    They are both our relatives, after all.

  5. Francisco Bacopa says

    Seahorses and barnacles are best reserved for experienced fishkeepers. Getting either one will likely be a sad experience.

    Captive bred damselfish are where a saltwater beginner should start. And if you live near the seashore, particularly along a polluted bay, harvesting wild fish is sometimes quite fun. I’ve had very good luck with wild blennies.

    And please, please, people. Do not take hermit crabs from the Galveston jetties and then put them in your land hermit crab habitat at home. The local crabs will kill your hermit crabs and then die a few hours later because they need to return to highly aerated seawater about every eight hours and cam survive without full immersion for only about two days tops.

  6. unclefrogy says

    now that is a great idea barnacles in a sea aquarium.
    Just the realization that there is a whole bunch of living things in the aquarium that I can barley see all green and murky with tiny swirls of protists like drops of milk in the water is why I have a tank with a mud turtle living in it.
    having a salt water tank with barnacles would be cool.

    uncle frogy

  7. Dean Pentcheff says

    No competition whatsoever:

    Seahorses are cute, but barnacles rock. Literally.

    In case you’re interested, Randy Olson is a marine biologist turned filmmaker (Flock of Dodos and Sizzle). The person gazing raptly into the desktop wave tank is Geoff Trager (at Woods Hole at the time).

  8. gregpeterson says

    My girlfriend, her son, and I had barnacles for Thanksgiving (available in a tin from, imported from Spain, about $80 a tin), and they are indeed delicious. Imagine if oysters were an order of magnitude more tasty and you’re getting close. Pain in the ass to get out of their little exoskeleton thingies, but wow. Worth it.

    If you want to try them this Christmas, I think you must act fast–they were nearly out of stock when I got ours.

  9. jakc says

    Seahorses are overrated, and they don’t really like to move around much more than barnacles. It’s why the Aquaman cartoons were so ridiculous – swimming fast is supposed to be one of his powers, but he rides seahorses, an fish who’s a terrible swimmer.

  10. says

    Which group of animals did Darwin spend like, a whole freakin’ decade, dissecting and analyzing and publishing a large book (or several — I forget) about?

    I rest my case.

  11. busterggi says

    Neither – salt water tanks are too much trouble so I’ve always stuck to fresh water. Used to have a mussel in one, named it Popeye. Never caused any trouble.

  12. w00dview says

    I used to work in a seahorse breeding facility that would be raised to sell on as pets so that there would be less pressure on the wild populations. Lovely animals but really hard to keep in captivity. Some species require certain plants or coral to hide in and grasp with their tails, they catch diseases easily and have a very reduced stomach so don’t absorb nutrients efficiently thus needing lots of planktonic prey to stay alive. Their slow swimming can also make them incompatible with many quicker, aggressive fish species which can easily swoop in and steal food that was meant for them!

    I have respect for barnacles as well. They are by far the most derived forms of arthropods out there and are a neat example of the immense diversity of that particular phylum. The most extreme form of barnacles discovered so far are Sacculina which are parasitic on crabs and totally unlike any other arthropods out there.

  13. FossilFishy (Νεοπτόλεμος's spellchecker) says

    No way no how did any seahorse ever inspire musical greatness like this.

  14. says

    I have barnacles in my tank. Some of them have a deep red lining on the inside of their hideout, visible only when they’re fishing. And no two barnacles have the same style of fishing. And yes, I’ve seen the impressive barnacle penises (penes?).

    And then, there’s the giant barnacles, a couple of inches high and wide; one day I’ll have a few of those, too.

  15. Carlos Cabanita says

    I only ate barnacles once, in a regional dish from Azores. They were quite rubbery. Perhaps the cook was not the best. They are called cracas in Portuguese. But the goose barnacles, which we call percebes, are served all over the coast of Portugal. They are delicious, with a strong marine taste.
    They are served whole, without any sophistication. People rip their skin and bite and suck the body. They go very well with beer!

  16. jacobvfox says

    On the Washington State coast there is a fascinating and very tasty species of goose neck barnacle. Amazing creatures to see feeding and fully extended in a tidal pool or right before they are dunked in garlic butter. Also they should be cooked very briefly and minimally or they will toughen up, and raw right off a rock isn’t bad either.

  17. gregpeterson says

    Apologies, Carlos. What we had was indeed percebes, so they must have been from Portugal rather than Spain. Please excuse my American jingoist ignorance. Oh, and they were just as you describe. We actually had them with some Victorian England inspired Old Tom Gin cocktails (Old Tom Gin–a genre, not a brand–is sweeter and more herbal than regular gin), which also worked great. Apparently percebes are good enough to go with a variety of drinks. But beer next time for sure!

  18. Mal Adapted says

    Eamon Knight #18:

    Which group of animals did Darwin spend like, a whole freakin’ decade, dissecting and analyzing and publishing a large book (or several — I forget) about?

    Teh google is your friend: Darwin published a bunch ‘o’ stuff on the Cirripedia, including the monograph “that has remained a standard work in cirripede morphology and systematics. [1]”

  19. Mal Adapted says

    Eamon Knight:

    @28: You realize my question was rhetorical, right?

    Yeah, but now everyone knows about 8^). I just noticed that one of the contributors was a high-school classmate of mine.

    (Recommended reading: Darwin and the Barnacle by Rebecca Stott).

    Thanks, that sounds good. I’ll look for it.