E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Cryptolepas rachianecti Dall
Grey Whale Barnacle
Family: Coronulidae
Species account author: Ira Cornwall.
Extracted from The Barnacles of British Columbia (1955).
Photo of species

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #11783)

E-Fauna BC Static Map
Distribution of Cryptolepas rachianecti in British Columbia
Details about map content are available here.

Species Information


Size up to 2ΒΌ inches. Shell ovoid with an ovoid opening; greatly compressed and almost completely imbedded in the skin of the whale. Body-chamber surrounded by about thirty rays which project above the surface of the skin. Cover-plates, usually two, almost invisible. Opercular opening covered by a strong membrane with a central hood through which the cirri are protruded.


Colour of the shell, white where eroded; opercular membrane, sulphur yellow.


On California grey whale Eschrichtius glaucus (Cope) which is confined to the North Pacific Ocean.


Cryptolepas rachianectiis almost wholly embedded in the whale's skin, usually on the head and under-parts of flippers and fluke. "It is excessively variable in size, proportion of diameter to height, and shape of the ribs or lamellae, which may be short, with a rounded (semicircular) outline, or long, and triangular in outline. The ribs may have many or very few branches. In young specimens the shape is that of a thick disk with rounded periphery, and the folds are simple. At all stages their free edges are beautifully crenulated." (Pilsbry.). The amphipod Cyamus scammoni Lutken is often found on the opercular membrane or in the shallow cavities of the eroded radii.

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Photo Sources

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2023-12-01 3:07:56 PM]
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