Time for a thread about parasitic barnacles.
Quick reminder, barnacles are crustaceans related to crabs & lobsters. They're mostly sessile filter feeders and I talked a little about them here:
But A. squalicola still has a ton of vestigial traits despite genetic evolution showing they diverged from other goose barnacles 120 million years ago.
The *REALLY* Weird One: the clade Rhizocephala (meaning root-head). These parasites infect crabs and exhibit the most radial evolutionary shifts of the three groups. They aren't even identifiable as crustaceans beyond their larval stages.
But here's where things get chemically *weird*.
But here's the thing...
And it's. A globdamn. Barnacle.