curly underline


Barnacles are hermaphrodites which, since they have the sex organs of both male and female, means they can reproduce without the help of a friend. However, barnacles prefer mating with other barnacles rather than inseminating themselves, which poses a problem as they don't get out much, spending their entire lives anchored to the same spot.

To get around this problem, barnacles have evolved very long penises - in fact their penis is about eight times as long as their body, the longest penis-body ratio in the animal world.

In 2008, Christopher Neufeld and Richard Palmer, of the University of Alberta, published research showing that barnacles can change the width and length of their penises to adapt to sea conditions. Their experiments involved transplanting barnacles from rough sea to calmer waters and vice versa to see if their penises changed shape.

A major difficulty of the research, as Neufeld put it, was that "It's hard to get barnacles to extend their penises on demand in the lab". To get round this problem, they artificially inflated the barnacles' genitalia with seawater using a custom-made penis pump built out of tubes and hypodermic syringes.

The results showed that barnacles living in rough waters have shorter, stouter penises that are better suited to withstand strong waves.

| Share |

You may also be interested in:

The phrase "prime minister" was originally a term of abuse. The title of Prime Minister... MORE

The word 'anorak' comes from the Canadian Inuit annuraaq, meaning 'a piece of clothing'. It first... MORE

European civilisation began with a beef crisis. Zeus, chief of the Greek gods, fell in... MORE

The earliest known depictions of dragons date from China around the 16th century BC. While Chinese... MORE

The rainiest place in the world is Mount Waiale'ale in Hawaii which has 335 rainy... MORE

The month of March is named after Mars, the God of War. This is probably... MORE

Every year, about 1,500 tons of suntan lotion washes into the Caribbean Sea off the... MORE

The glass slippers in the Cinderella story were originally fur. The change came through confusion... MORE

The flatulence of a single sheep could power a small lorry for 25 miles a... MORE

Genetically modified chocolate is illegal in Switzerland. On 16 July 1661, Switzerland became... MORE

In 1750, John Bute was appointed lord of the bedchamber to Frederick, Prince of Wales; in... MORE

Not only was Jihae Hwang's 'Hae-woo-so' garden at the 2011 Chelsea Flower Show the first... MORE

The highest temperature ever recorded in the shade was 57.8°C (136°F) in Libya on 13... MORE

The Californian legal system seems to have a soft spot for animals. For one thing, anyone... MORE

The Geographic North Pole is a fixed point determined by the earth's spin; the Magnetic... MORE


Ads by Chitika