BIOTIC Species Information for Balanus spp.
Researched byDan Bayley
Refereed byThis information is not refereed.
Scientific nameBalanus spp. Common nameA barnacle
MCS CodeR74 Recent Synonyms

PhylumArthropoda SubphylumCrustacea
Superclass ClassMaxillopoda
SubclassCirripedia OrderSessilia
SuborderBalanomorpha FamilyBalanidae
GenusBalanus Species

Additional Information
Taxonomy References Hayward & Ryland, 1995b, Rainbow, 1984, Bassindale, 1964, Campbell, 1982, Howson & Picton, 1997,
General Biology
Growth form Feeding methodActive suspension feeder
Mobility/MovementPermanent attachment
Environmental positionEpilithic
Typical food typesZooplankton, detritus HabitAttached
Bioturbator FlexibilityNone (< 10 degrees)
FragilityRobust SizeSmall(1-2cm)
Height Growth Rate
Adult dispersal potentialNone DependencyIndependent
General Biology Additional InformationFeeding
Barnacles feed by extending thoracic appendages called cirri out from the shell to filter zooplankton from the water. In the absence of any current, the barnacle rhythmically beats the cirri. When a current is present the barnacle holds the cirri fully extended in the current flow. Barnacles feed most during spring and autumn when plankton levels are highest. Little if any feeding takes place during winter, when barnacles rely on stored food reserves. Feeding rate is important in determining the rate of growth.
Barnacles need to moult in order to grow. Frequency of moulting is determined by feeding rate and temperature. Moulting does not take place during winter when phytoplankton levels and temperatures are low.
Biology References Rainbow, 1984, Barnes et al., 1963, Bassindale, 1964,
Distribution and Habitat
Distribution in Britain & IrelandAll Great Britain
Global distribution
Biogeographic range Depth range
Distribution Additional InformationBalanus balanus restricted from Cornwall.

Substratum preferencesBedrock
Large to very large boulders
Small boulders
Physiographic preferencesOpen coast
Biological zone Wave exposure
Tidal stream strength/Water flow Salinity
Habitat Preferences Additional Information
Distribution References Hayward & Ryland, 1995b, Rainbow, 1984, Barnes, 1953, Barnes et al., 1963, Bassindale, 1964, Southward, 1998, Fish & Fish, 1996, Hiscock et al, 2001, Herbert et al., 2003,
Reproduction/Life History
Reproductive typePermanent hermaphrodite
Developmental mechanismPlanktotrophic
Reproductive Season Reproductive Location
Reproductive frequencyAnnual episodic Regeneration potential No
Life span3-5 years Age at reproductive maturity<1 year
Generation time<1 year Fecundityup to 8000 eggs
Egg/propagule size Fertilization typeInternal
Larval/Juvenile dispersal potential>10km Larval settlement period
Duration of larval stage   
Reproduction Preferences Additional Information
Reproduction References H°pner Petersen, 1966, Rainbow, 1984, Barnes & Powell, 1953, Barnes & Bagenal, 1951, Herbert et al., 2003, Crisp, 1954,
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