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Variation in the sizes of chthamalid barnacle post-settlement cyprids on European shores

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jane Delany, Alan Myers


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As part of a wider study on the settlement and recruitment of Chthamalus spp. in Europe, this study investigated whether chthamalid cyprids can be separated by length on a European scale. Variation in cyprid length with latitude and temporal variation at selected localities were also examined. The lengths of cyprids collected between 1996-1999 on nine rocky shores in Europe are reported. Elminius modestus cyprids were found only at Roscoff, NW France and could be distinguished due to their carapace shape and length. They showed a unimodal length distribution, measuring between 450 and 625 μm, with no variation in length between the two sampling dates (1997 and 1998). Based on carapace shape and length, the remaining cyprids in the collections were identified as one of three chthamalid species, Chthamalus montagui, Chthamalus stellatus or Euraphia depressa. Bimodal length distributions of chthamalid cyprids were seen on some shores, while others had a single small-sized modal group (representing C. montagui on Atlantic shores and/or E. depressa in the Mediterranean) separated from a few distinctly larger cyprids (C. stellatus). Metamorphs collected simultaneously with cyprid collections were identified as C. stellatus or C. montagui, except at Roscoff, where E. modestus were also found. In southern Portugal, where all metamorphs collected were C. montagui and adult C. montagui were the dominant barnacles, most cyprids measured between 350 and 550 μm long and this size distribution coincides with the distribution expected for C. montagui. Cyprids collected on these four more southerly Portuguese shores had the same modal length class (475 μm) and this remained constant between successive years at Luz and Albufeira, Algarve. The smallest (350 μm long) wild chthamalid cyprids found were from southern Portugal and Italy. In Spain, France and Ireland the smallest chthamalid cyprid was 425 μm long. The results from the present study support the hypothesis that on Atlantic shores cyprids of C. montagui can be separated from those of C. stellatus based on size, although there is some variation in cyprid length with latitude as well as temporal variation at selected localities.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Myers AA; Delany J; O'Riordan RM; Range P; Relini G; McGrath D; Power AM; Ramsay NF; Alvarez D; Cruz T; Pannacciulli FG

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Marine Ecology

Year: 2001

Volume: 22

Issue: 4

Pages: 307-322

ISSN (print): 0173-9565

ISSN (electronic): 1439-0485

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1046/j.1439-0485.2001.01760.x


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