The main predators of barnacles are the marine snails known as whelks that use their long proboscises to force the barnacles open. Other predators include juvenile fish, suspension-feeding invertebrates, limpets, crabs, sea stars and humans.
Barnacles are crustaceans related to lobsters, crabs and shrimp. Of the many species of barnacles, only two are commonly eaten by humans: the rock barnacle, which is similar in taste to octopus or soft-shell clam, and the gooseneck barnacle, which tastes like crab or scallops. The New York Times reported in 2001 that barnacles were becoming an increasingly familiar item on the menus of high-end restaurants.