Megabalanus stultus

Megabalanus stultus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Maxillopoda
Infraclass: Cirripedia
Order: Sessilia
Family: Balanidae
Genus: Megabalanus
Species: M. stultus
Binomial name
Megabalanus stultus
(Darwin, 1854)

Balanus stultus Darwin, 1854

Megabalnus stultus is a species of barnacle first described by Charles Darwin in 1854. It lives on fire corals of the genus Millepora in the Atlantic Ocean from Florida to southern Brazil.



Millepora alcicornis, one of the species of fire coral inhabited by Me. stultus

Megabalanus stultus is one of three species of barnacle that live on fire corals (the genus Millepora). Savignium milleporae lives in the Indo-Pacific and lives on 9 species of Millepora; Megabalanus ajax lives in the western Pacific and lives on Millepora platyphylla; Me. stultus lives in the western Atlantic, and lives on Mi. alcicornis and Mi. complanata.[1] The nature of the relationship between M. stultus and the coral is unclear. At low densities, the barnacle has no discernible effect on the coral, but high-densities of coral-inhabiting barnacles can disrupt the growth of the colony.[1]


In his original description of the species, Darwin reported that M. stultus occurred in Singapore and the West Indies. In 1968, Arnold Ross considered the reports of M stultus from the Pacific Ocean to be erroneous,[2] limiting the type locality to the West Indies. M. stultus has subsequently been reported from Taiwan in the western Pacific,[3] and those records have been reassessed as referring to the related species Megabalanus ajax.[4]

M. stultus is now thought to occur exclusively in the western Atlantic, including the Caribbean Sea, from Florida to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.[5]


Megabalnus stultus differs from the other species of Megabalanus in that the basal margin is sinuous, rather than straight, and protrudes medially, whereas in other species it protrudes little if at all.[5] The shell is "dirty white" in colour, often with a purple tinge, and pale blue in parts.[5]

Taxonomic history

Megabalanus stultus was first described by Charles Darwin in 1854, under the name Balanus stultus. It was placed in the subgenus Megabalanus by Ross in 1968,[2] which was raised to the rank of genus in 1976.[4][6]


  1. ^ a b John B. Lewis (2006). "Biology and ecology of the hydrocoral Millepora on coral reefs". In Alan J. Southward. Advances in Marine Biology. 50. Academic Press. pp. 3–58. ISBN 9780120261512. 
  2. ^ a b Arnold Ross (1968). "The intertidal balanomorph Cirripedia" (PDF). Proceedings of the United States National Museum 125 (3663): 1–22. 
  3. ^ Keryea Soong & Miao-Li Changlai (1992). "Rediscovery of Megabalanus stultus (Darwin, 1854) (Cirripedia, Thoracica, Balanidae), a fire coral symbiont, in the Pacific". Crustaceana 63 (1): 23–28. doi:10.1163/156854092X00244. JSTOR 20104765. 
  4. ^ a b Arnold Ross (1999). "On the occurrence of Megabalanus stultus (Darwin), 1854 (Cirripedia: Balanomorpha) in Taiwan: a reappraisal" (PDF). Zoological Studies 38 (3): 275–278. 
  5. ^ a b c Dora P. Henry & Patsy A. McLaughlin (1986). "The Recent species of Megabalanus (Cirripedia: Balanomorpha) with special emphasis on Balanus tintinnabulum (Linnaeus) sensu lato" (PDF). Zoologische Verhandelingen 235: 1–69. 
  6. ^ William A. Newman & Arnold Ross (1976). Revision of the Balanomorph Barnacles, including a Catalog of the Species. Memoirs of the San Diego Society of Natural History. 9. San Diego Society of Natural History. OCLC 2511733. 

Further reading

Charybdis japonica.jpg Crustaceans portal
  • John B. Lewis (1992). "Recruitment, growth and mortality of a coral-inhabiting barnacle Megabalanus stultus (Darwin) upon the hydrocoral Millepora complanata Lamarck". Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 162 (1): 51–64. doi:10.1016/0022-0981(92)90124-S. 

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  • Megabalanus — Temporal range: Miocene–Recent …   Wikipedia

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