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Barnacle Bay and Titan Acorn – Invasive Species – Part 10

Invasive Species in USA Waterways - Part 10 - Bay Barnacle and Titan Acorn Barnacle

Here we take a look at Barnacles, both the Bay Barnacle and Titan Acorn Barnacle. Both different invasive species occurring in American waterways by means of introduction. Biofoulers that spread by means of barnacles on boats.

Invasive Species Definition

The definition of an invasive species is any species that is not native to our ecosystems and cause harm when introduced to the ecosystems. Furthermore, these may include amphibians, plants, insects, fish, fungus, bacteria and more. Impacts on the environment may cause economic loss or affect human health.

While, Invasive species tend to grow and reproduce quickly and spread aggressively with the potential to cause harm on the environment, economy or even human health. Therefore, given the label “invasive”.

Bay Barnacle

The Bay Barnacle and Titan Acorn Barnacle are two different types of Barnacles. While, the Bay Barnacle’s natural range is not specifically known. However, it may have originated in North America. While, the shell is smooth white or pale grey cone with six fused plates.

Furthermore, features an oval opening. While, blocked by two hinged plates. With a characteristically grooved radial base. Generally, adult reach about 10mm in diameter and about 6mm in width. However, they can grow taller when densely packed.

Biology of the Bay Barnacle

While, the Bay Barnacle is marine crustacean. Furthermore, a filter feeder that extends its six pairs of modified legs to catch plankton and other organic material floating past. While, a sessile adult with free-swimming planktonic larvae. Further, a hermaphrodite with sperm passing into the cavity of a neighboring barnacle through a long tube penis.

While, fertilization and brooding occur in a cavity. Meanwhile, hatching into nauplius larvae which are free-swimming in currents. Furthermore, over a period of two to five weeks these larvae undergo six stages until they find a suitable surface to cement themselves to.

Here they undergo metamorphosis into juveniles. Generally, there are several broods in the year. While, producing around 50 000 larvae per week. Meanwhile, breeding in cooler waters and low salinity environments are however lower. Whilst, almost capable of surviving in freshwater.

Starfish and barnacles on rocks

Distribution of the Bay Barnacle

Invasive Species Fouling structures

Normally found in vast numbers, down to depth of about 20 feet on rocks, man-made structures, buoys, shells or crabs and molluscs as well as seaweed. As well as, barnacles on boats.

Furthermore, found in temperate and tropical parts of the Atlantic Ocean, Arctic Ocean, Baltic Sea, North Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea Indo-Pacific and Australasia.

Effect on Ecosystem and Introduction

This biofouler is tolerant of both high and low salinity levels it can live in estuaries and low salinity bays. Competing with natural organisms. Further, inhabits shells of oysters and mussels. Furthermore, blocks water intake pipes of factories and power stations, etc. Therefore, it impacts not only the ecosystems but causes economical losses.

While, this species is native to North America, but with the decrease in natural predators, the barnacles have spread to become invasive within the country.

Furthermore, these barnacles may be preyed upon by Armored Catfish, Lionfish, Asian Carp, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Tilapia, Brown Bullhead, Oscar, Pike Topminnow and Catfish including Walking Catfish, Blue Catfish and Channel Catfish.

As well as, Coypu, Northern Snakehead, Cichlids, Common Rudd, Green Swordtail, White Perch, Yellow Goby, Round Goby, Red Shiner, Eastern Mosquitofish, Eurasian Ruff, Green Sunfish, Oriental Weather Loach, Asian Swamp Eel and more.

The Titan Acorn Barnacle is native to the Pacific coasts of Central and South America. While, these are large pink barnacles, reach over 2 inches in width and height. Furthermore, smooth pink plates are fused together and separated by a narrow purple or white line segment.

Have small opening at the top. Attach themselves in marine water to varying types of objects including crabs, rocks, boats, buoys, etc. Modified arms are extended through their opening for catch plankton.

Moreover, a hermaphrodite with sperm passing into the cavity of a neighboring barnacle through a long tube penis. For internal fertilization. While, the motile larvae spend three weeks going through several growth phases and metamorphose into adults.

Titan Acorn Barnacle

Distribution of the Titan Acorn Barnacle

Titan Acorn Barnacle

Similar to the Bay Barnacle, the Titan Acorn Barnacle are normally found in vast numbers, down to depth of about 20 feet on rocks, man-made structures, buoys, shells or crabs and molluscs as well as seaweed. As well as, barnacles on boats. Distribution is found in temperate and tropical parts of the Atlantic Ocean, Arctic Ocean, Baltic Sea, North Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea Indo-Pacific and Australasia.

Effect on Ecosystem

This large barnacle can out compete native barnacles for habitat and food with is aggressive traits of expansive settlement, rapid growth and large size. Further, can out-compete with other intertidal suspension and filter feeders for space and food, completely changing the marine ecosystems.

Furthermore, has economical impact as it clogs boat propellers, drive shafts and engine parts. Also impedes recreational activities and navigational activities. Pipes are also clogged by these biofoulers.

Furthermore, these barnacles may be preyed upon by Armored Catfish, Lionfish, Asian Carp, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Tilapia, Brown Bullhead, Oscar, Pike Topminnow and Catfish including Walking Catfish, Blue Catfish and Channel Catfish.

As well as, Coypu, Northern Snakehead, Cichlids, Common Rudd, Green Swordtail, White Perch, Yellow Goby, Round Goby, Red Shiner, Eastern Mosquitofish, Eurasian Ruff, Green Sunfish, Oriental Weather Loach, Asian Swamp Eel and more.

Titan Acorn Barnacle and invasive species in Ecosystem

Introduction to USA

By 1985, these barnacles where discovered up the coast of California into the Pacific Ocean. With further discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean, Louisiana, Port Aransas, Texas, Cape Canaveral and Florida. By 2006, farther discoveries where made on the coast by Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. However, the cold waters have a limiting factor on this species.

Management of the Titan Acorn Barnacle

Invasive species of Barnacles on boats

Management of this invasive species is very costly. With Barnacles on Boats being a big problem. However, the best method is prevention. Thus, clean boats before leaving one site and going to another. Dry-docking boats can help prevent the spread. If removing specimens, make sure to throw them away in a trash receptacle and not back into the ocean.

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