Diversity in the barnacle zone

CREATURE FEATURE

by Steve Burrows

When you start looking, it is amazing what you can find. Not long ago, I would just see the ‘barnacles’ when I was walking on the rocks. It wasn’t until I started photographing some of the intertidal species that I realised there were a number of different species of barnacles living in the barnacle zone.  

The 'barnacle zone'

The image above was taken at Long Point, Merimbula, on the southern side. In this area six species of barnacles live together.  

Within the cunjevoi layer, and on the vertical face of the rock ledges, lives Austromegabalunus nigrescens. But as is the case along the coast, there aren’t many to be found. 

Austromegabalunus nigrescens

The area above the cunjevoi layer (with a width of 1-5m, approx) is dominated by Catomerus polymerus and Tesseropora rosea.

There is the occasional Tetraclitella purpurascens on the rock surface, but this species can be found in greater numbers in the crevices. 

Tetraclitella purpurascens

As you move further away from the cunjevoi layer (>5-6m) the honeycomb barnacle (Chamaesipho tasmanica) can be found along with the occasional Chthamalus antennatus

Further reading:
For an introduction to the biology of barnacles, including examples of NSW species, visit the website: Life on Australian Seashores, by Keith Davey (University of Newcastle)


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Steve Burrows