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Habitat specificity… or… home, home on the whale

I’ve really been enjoying a blog by Jackie Hildering, “The Marine Detective” from Port McNeill, BC. In her most recent post to, she share a story of a relationships between species that literally build upon each other.

In Humpback Whale Gooseneck Barnacles?! She shares the wonder of diversity and discovery that never ceases to surprise. In her research on humpback whales she and her colleagues noticed a species specific whale barnacle on a particular humpback. As time went on, the barnacle changed like a gnarly wart growing hair. Finally, they got a close look at the “hair” to find it was a barnacle specific barnacle – the humpback whale barnacle barnacle. Share the marine detective’s wonder and enjoy her amazing photos.

Humpback whale in Colvos Passage near the Southworth ferry. Jeff Adams

Humpback whales sometimes find their way into Salish Sea waters (as you may note in my Loch Ness blurr style humpback pic). So bring the binoculars next time you hear of one (join the Orca Network list for near daily whale sightings info). Wonder not only at the magnificence of the whale, but see if you can spot a humpback whale barnacle, or even a barnacle with a medusa doo. Cheers! JEff

Jeff Adams is a Washington Sea Grant Marine Water Quality Specialist, affiliated with the University of Washington’s College of the Environment, and based in Bremerton. You can follow his Sea Life blog, SalishSeaLife tweets and videos, email to or call at 360-337-4619.