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Sacculina, Illustration

Sacculina, Illustration


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Sacculina is a genus of barnacles that is a parasitic castrator of crabs. They are recognized as barnacles because their larval forms are like other members of the barnacle class Cirripedia. The female Sacculina larva finds a crab and walks on it until it finds a joint. It then moults into a form called a kentrogon, which injects its soft body into the crab while its shell falls off. The Sacculina grows in the crab, emerging as a sac, known as an externa, on the underside of the crab's rear thorax, where the crab's eggs would be incubated. After this invasion of the Sacculina, the crab is now unable to perform the normal function of moulting. This results in a loss of nutrition for the crab, and impairs its overall growth. The male Sacculina looks for a female Sacculina adult on the underside of a crab. He then implants himself into her body and starts fertilizing her eggs. The crab (male or female) then cares for the eggs as if they were its own,.

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