Invasion History

First Non-native North American Tidal Record: 2001
First Non-native West Coast Tidal Record:
First Non-native East/Gulf Coast Tidal Record: 2001

General Invasion History:

Megabalanus coccopoma is native to the southeastern Pacific, ranging from Mexico to Peru. In the US, it was first reported from Louisiana in 2001 and its non-native range now extends throughout the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic coast of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Elsewhere in the world, introduced populations have been reported from Belgium, the Netherlands, West Africa, Japan, Australia and Brazil, and the Galapagos Islands. 

North American Invasion History:

Invasion History on the West Coast:

Invasion History on the East Coast:

In 2005, living and apparently established populations were found near Fort Pierce, Florida, in the Indian River Lagoon (Ruiz et al., unpublished data). In June 2006, a single specimen of M. coccopoma was collected from a buoy washed up on Ossabaw Island, Georgia (USGS Nonindigenous Species Program 2006). By 2007, populations were well-established in the Intracoastal Waterway, around St. Augustine, Florida, with settlement occurring in March-August. Settlement was not seen in creeks opening into the waterway, probably because of their lower salinity (Gilg et al. 2010). In 2006-2008, this barnacle was collected from Port Royal Sound, SC to Core Sound, NC (Southeast Regional Taxonomic Center 2011). Severe winters in 2010 and 2011 may have led to declines in M. coccopoma in the St. Augustine area and the Carolinas (USGS Nonindigenous Species Program 2008; Southeast Regional Taxonomic Center 2011). However, populations are expected to be resilient, according to Matthew Gilg (Edwards, 11/16/2011). 

Invasion History on the Gulf Coast:

In 2001, large numbers of Megabalanus coccopoma were collected attached to pilings at Grand Isle, Louisiana (Perreault 2004). Barnacles above the high-tide mark had been killed by cold, and there were no signs of recruitment. Perreault (2004) found additional non-recruiting and/or dead populations elsewhere in the Gulf of Mexico, at Destin, Florida, and Port Aransas, Texas. These occurrences suggested that reproducing populations might be located elsewhere in the Gulf, perhaps on offshore oil platforms (Perreault 2004). More recently, established populations were found at Port Aransas in 2010 (Cohen et al. 2014). Cohen et al. (2014) also collected Megabalanus spp. in Pensacola and Tampa Bay, Florida, but these appear to belong to at least one different, cryptic species. Megabalanus coccopoma is established in Tamaulipas state, Mexico, about 300 km south of the US border (Celis et al. 2007).

Invasion History in Hawaii:

Invasion History Elsewhere in the World:

In the 1970s, Megabalanus coccopoma was collected from buoys in Dutch waters, and misidentified as Balanus perforatus. In 1997-1999, it was found to be widespread on buoys in Belgian waters. Populations consisted of two or more generations, suggesting successful over-wintering and survival (Kerckhof and Cattrijsse 2001). Francis Kerckhof considers this species to be established in the southern North Sea (Kerckhof 2006, personal communication). In 2010, M. coccopoma was observed on fishing boats at Faraja, in the Gambia, West Africa, and was subsequently found growing on rocks along the shore, and in a private collection made in 2006 (Kerckhof et al. 2010). In Brazil, the first collection was from the Baia da Guanabara, near the city of Rio de Janeiro, in 1974 and it currently ranges from the states of Espirito Santo to Rio Grande do Sul. In many locations in this range, it has become the dominant species, and appears to have partially replaced previously reported populations of M. tintinnabulum (Young 1994).

Megabalanus coccopoma was collected in 1994 in Australia, at Manly, near Sydney, New South Wales (Yamaguchi et al. 2009). It has been collected from a ship at Brisbane Queensland Neil et al. 2005, cited by Yamaguchi et al. 2009), and is established between Sydney and Newcastle, and in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria (Dafforn et al. 2009; Yamaguchi et al. 2009). In 2004, M. coccopoma was collected on the hull of a ship which travels between Kobe, Japan, and Australia. It is established in Japan from the south eastern coast from Kobe, on the Seto Inland Sea to Tokyo Bay, north to Ogatsu Bay, in Miyagi Prefecture (Yamaguchi et al. 2009). It has also been collected in New Zealand waters, on thre floating wreckage of a fishing boat (Williams et al. 2008), and on an oil rig (Hopkins et al. 2011)- both in 2008. This barnacle was found to be established in many locations on the south eastern coast of Japan from Kobe, on the Seto Inland Sea to Tokyo Bay, north to Ogatsu Bay, in Miyagi Prefecture (Yamaguchi et al. 2009). In 2010, Megabalanus coccopoma was found on barges and buoys off Kwa Zulu, South Africa, on the Indian Ocean coast.  In 2019, it was found living at two locations on the Kwa Zulu coast (Pfaff et al. 2022).  Megabalanus coccopoma is regarded as introduced in the Galapagos Islands from the coast of South America, before the first barnacle surveys in the 1960s (Zullo 1991, cited by Carlton et al. 2019).


Description

Megabalanus coccopoma is a large barnacle, sometimes globular or cylindrical in shape and up to 50 mm in diameter. Its plates are slightly rough or finely ribbed. The orifice is moderately small, usually less than one-half the basal diameter, and it is subtriangular to subovate in shape. The scutum has a very broad, obtusely inflected tergal segment, and strong, closely set growth ridges. The margin along the aperture is strongly toothed, with longitudinal striae faint or absent. The articular ridge is four-fifths the length of the tergal margin, and the adductor ridge is strong and well-separated from the articular ridge. The tergum is moderately narrow, with a moderately long spur, separated by its own width or less from the basiscutal angle. Its growth ridges are faint to moderately strong, with an articular ridge approximately four-fifths the length of the scutal margin. The color is usually deep red, occasionally with fine white longitudinal lines or stripes. The radii are deep purple or reddish purple. The scutum is purple to reddish-purple, while the tergum is white (Pilsbry 1916; Ross 1962; Laguna 1985; Henry and McLaughlin 1986). Larval development of this species has been described and illustrated by Severno and Resgalla (2005). 
 
Megabalanus coccopoma could be potentially confused with M. californicusM. peninsularis, or M. vinaceus in the northeastern Pacific (California-Panama), or with M. tintinnabulum or M. stultus in its introduced range in the northwestern Atlantic (Texas-Georgia) (Henry and McLaughlin 1986). 
 
A genetic analysis of Megabalanus spp. collected on the Gulf and southeastern coast of the US and Brazil concluded that most populations were M. coccopoma, although multiple lineages of this species were present. However, at least one cryptic species of Megabalanus was present (Cohen et al. 2014). 


Taxonomy

Taxonomic Tree

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:   Arthropoda
Subphylum:   Crustacea
Class:   Maxillopoda
Subclass:   Thecostraca
Infraclass:   Cirripedia
Superorder:   Thoracica
Order:   Sessilia
Suborder:   Balanomorpha
Superfamily:   Balanoidea
Family:   Balanidae
Genus:   Megabalanus
Species:   coccopoma

Synonyms

Balanus tintinnabulum ssp. coccopoma (Pilsbry, 1916)
Balanus tintinnabulum var. coccopoma (Darwin, 1854)

Potentially Misidentified Species

Megabalanus californicus
NE Pacific

Megabalanus peninsularis
NE Pacific

Megabalanus rosa
NW Pacific

Megabalanus stultus
NW Atlantic

Megabalanus tintinnabulum
Cosmopolitan

Megabalanus vinaceus
NE Pacific

Megabalanus volcano
NW Pacific

Ecology

General:

Megabalanus coccopoma, like many other barnacles, is hermaphroditic, but is capable of cross-fertilization. The fertilized eggs are brooded in the mantle cavity, sometimes for several months, and are released as nauplius larvae with three pairs of appendages (Barnes 1983). The nauplii feed in the plankton and go through five successive molts, spending 6 to 20 days (about 3 weeks) in the water column (Severino and Resgalla 2005), before molting into a non-feeding cypris stage, covered with a pair of chitinous shells. Cyprids swim, investigating suitable surfaces, and then settle, secreting a shell and molting into the first juvenile barnacle stages. Juvenile and adult barnacles are filter feeders, sweeping the water with their long, bristled appendages that gather phytoplankton, zooplankton, and detritus (Barnes 1983). 
 
Megabalanus coccopoma prefers intertidal and shallow subtidal (less than 100 m depth) regions of marine waters. Newman and McConnaughey (1987) describe this species as an opportunist and highly gregarious, settling on disturbed or previously cleared substrates, especially manufactured structures such as buoys and boats. It is a common fouler of boats, ships, buoys, and other manufactured structures (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution 1952; Newman and McConnaughey 1987; Kerckhof and Cattrijsse 2001). In Itapocoroy Bay, Brazil, it is an abundant fouler of aquaculture ropes and floats used in oyster and mussel culture (Severino and Resgalla 2005). It also frequently grows on mollusk shells (e.g., Pseudochama corrugata, Ross 1962; 'mussels', Young 1994). Henry and McLaughlin (1986) list one specimen from a Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae). 
 
The temperature range of this species is difficult to infer from its known occurrences. It occurred near San Diego, California during an El Niño year in 1985, and then in small numbers after that (three specimens, Newman and McConnaughey 1987), and failed to survive winter conditions in Louisiana (Perreault 2004) but has survived several winters on coastal buoys in Belgium (Kerckhof and Cattrijsse 2001; Kerckhof, personal communication). In Itapocoroy Bay, Brazil, it reproduces year-round at a temperature range of 17–-30ºC (Severino and Resgalla 2005). 

Food:

Phytoplankton, zooplankton

Consumers:

Fishes, crabs, flatworms

Competitors:

Other fouling organisms

Trophic Status:

Suspension Feeder

SusFed

Habitats

General HabitatVessel HullNone
General HabitatMarinas & DocksNone
General HabitatRockyNone
Salinity RangePolyhaline18-30 PSU
Salinity RangeEuhaline30-40 PSU
Tidal RangeSubtidalNone
Tidal RangeLow IntertidalNone
Vertical HabitatEpibenthicNone

Life History


Tolerances and Life History Parameters

Minimum Temperature (ºC)4.7Functional temperature, FT50, minimum temperature for 50% response. LT50 (50% lethal temperature was 2. 3 C) (Crickenberger 2014).
Minimum Salinity (‰)26Minimum salinity, annual cycle, Itapocoroy Bay, Brazil, Severino and Resgalla 2005
Maximum Salinity (‰)38Maximum salinity, annual cycle, Itapocoroy Bay, Brazil, Severino and Resgalla 2005
Minimum Dissolved Oxygen (mg/l)7.5Minimum dissolved oxygen, mg/ml, annual cycle, Itapocoroy Bay, Brazil, Severino and Resgalla 2005
Maximum Dissolved Oxygen8.5Maximum dissolved oxygen, mg/ml, annual cycle, Itapocoroy Bay, Brazil, Severino and Resgalla 2005
Minimum pH5.5Minimum pH, annual cycle, Itapocoroy Bay, Brazil, Severino and Resgalla 2005
Maximum pH10.5Minimum pH, annual cycle, Itapocoroy Bay, Brazil, Severino and Resgalla 2005
Minimum Reproductive Temperature16Experimental, nauplius-cypris-juvenile, animals from Fernandina FL, Crickenberger 2014; Crikcenberger et al. 2017.
Maximum Reproductive Temperature30Reproducing year-round, annual cycle, Itapocoroy Bay, Brazil, Severno and Resgalla 2005
Minimum Reproductive Salinity26Reproducing year-round, annual cycle, Itapocoroy Bay, Brazil, Severino and Resgalla 2005
Maximum Reproductive Salinity38Reproducing year-round, annual cycle, Itapocoroy Bay, Brazil, Severino and Resgalla 2005
Minimum Reproductive Dissolved Oxygen7.5Reproducing year-round, annual cycle, Itapocoroy Bay, Brazil, Severno and Resgalla 2005
Maximum Reproductive Dissolved Oxygen (mg/l)8.5Reproducing year-round, annual cycle, Itapocoroy Bay, Brazil, Severino and Resgalla 2005
Minimum Reproductive pH5.5Reproducing year-round, annual cycle, Itapocoroy Bay, Brazil, Severino and Resgalla 2005
Maximum Reproductive pH10.5Reproducing year-round, annual cycle, Itapocoroy Bay, Brazil, Severino and Resgalla 2005
Minimum Duration522 C, experimental, Crickenberger 2014.
Maximum Duration20Larval duration, experimental, 20 C, Severino and Resgalla 2005
Maximum Height (mm)50Ross 1962
Broad Temperature RangeNoneWarm temperate-tropical
Broad Salinity RangeNonePolyhaline-Euhaline

General Impacts

Economic Impacts

Megabalanus coccopoma is currently rare in US waters. However, within its native range, from Mexico to Peru, it is common fouler of boats, ships, buoys, and other manufactured structures (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution 1953; Newman and McConnaughey 1987; Kerckhof and Cattrijsse 2001). 
 
Fisheries- In Itapocoroy Bay, Brazil, it is an abundant fouler of aquaculture ropes and floats used in oyster and mussel culture (Severno and Resgalla 2005). 
 
Ecological Impacts 

The ecological impacts of this barnacle’s invasion in Brazil have not been carefully studied. However, it appears to have largely replaced populations of?M. tintinnabulum, reported in the 1920s–1940s (Young 1994). In experiments in Mosquito Lagoon, Florida,?Megabalanus coccopoma located on fouling plates reduced the settlement of larvae of Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica) but did not affect the growth of oyster spat (Yuan et al. 2016). 


Regional Impacts

SA-IINoneEconomic ImpactFisheries
Barnacles, dominated by M. coccopoma, foul ropes used in mussel culture in Itapocoroy Bay (Santa Catarina, Brazil). The ropes sometimes break from the weight of attached barnacles (Severino and Resgalla 2005). Didemnum perlucidum was common but not dominant in mussel farms in southern Brazil. It does overgrow mussels, so could 'be damaging to the bivalve industry' (da Rocha et al. 2010). In later studies, ,emM. coccopoma was found to affect the growth of cultured mussels, delaying or preventing their growth to marketable size. Monthly cleaning of the mussels and the culture 'socks' improved the growth of the mussels, but damaged small mussels, but increased labor costs, (Lins and Rocha 2020).
SA-IINoneEcological ImpactCompetition
Megabalanus coccopoma appears to have largely replaced populations of M. tintinnabulum, reported in the 1920s-1940s (Young 1994).
CAR-INorthern Yucatan, Gulf of Mexico, Florida Straits, to Middle Eastern FloridaEcological ImpactCompetition
In experiments in Mosquito Lagoon, Florida, Megabalanus coccopoma, on fouling plates, reduced the settlement of larvae of Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica), but did not affect the growth of oyster spat (Yuan et al. 2016).
S190Indian RiverEcological ImpactCompetition
In experiments in Mosquito Lagoon, Florida, Megabalanus coccopoma, on fouling plates, reduced the settlement of larvae of Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica), but did not affect the growth of oyster spat (Yuan et al. 2016).

Regional Distribution Map

Bioregion Region Name Year Invasion Status Population Status
SA-II None 1961 Def Estab
NEP-VIII None 0 Native Estab
SEP-H None 0 Native Estab
SEP-I None 0 Native Estab
CAR-I Northern Yucatan, Gulf of Mexico, Florida Straits, to Middle Eastern Florida 2005 Def Estab
NEP-VI Pt. Conception to Southern Baja California 1985 Native Unk
NEA-II None 1976 Def Estab
SEP-Z None 1966 Def Estab
SEP-C None 0 Native Estab
NEP-VII None 0 Native Estab
S190 Indian River 2005 Def Estab
CAR-VII Cape Hatteras to Mid-East Florida 2006 Def Estab
G200 Barataria Bay 2001 Def Unk
G120 Choctawhatchee Bay 2004 Def Unk
G310 Corpus Christi Bay 2004 Def Estab
S130 Ossabaw Sound 2006 Def Unk
P022 _CDA_P022 (San Diego) 1985 Native Unk
SA-III None 1994 Def Estab
S183 _CDA_S183 (Daytona-St. Augustine) 2006 Def Estab
S080 Charleston Harbor 2006 Def Estab
S050 Cape Fear River 2006 Def Estab
S056 _CDA_S056 (Northeast Cape Fear) 2006 Def Estab
S090 Stono/North Edisto Rivers 2007 Def Estab
S180 St. Johns River 2007 Def Estab
S030 Bogue Sound 2007 Def Unk
G110 St. Andrew Bay 2008 Def Unk
SA-IV None 2004 Def Unk
NWP-4b None 2007 Def Estab
NWP-3b None 2005 Def Estab
AUS-X None 1994 Def Estab
AUS-XII None 2005 Def Unk
AUS-VIII None 2009 Def Estab
WA-I None 2006 Def Estab
NZ-IV None 2008 Def Failed
S110 Broad River 2008 Def Estab
S170 St. Marys River/Cumberland Sound 2010 Def Unk
S150 Altamaha River 2009 Def Unk
S175 _CDA_S175 (Nassau) 2011 Def Estab
S140 St. Catherines/Sapelo Sounds 2010 Def Estab
S120 Savannah River 2010 Def Estab
S020 Pamlico Sound 2011 Def Estab
AG-1 None 2011 Def Estab
IP-1 None 2011 Def Estab
PAN_PAC Panama Pacific Coast 0 Native Estab
EA-IV None 2010 Def Estab

Occurrence Map

OCC_ID Author Year Date Locality Status Latitude Longitude

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