Effects of Tidal Height and Wave Exposure on Cirrus and Penis Morphology of the Acorn Barnacle Tetraclita stalactifera
Cirripedia, Phenotypic plasticity, Hermaphrodite, Intertidal zone
Exposure to wave action and other environmental factors can alter the morphology of intertidal barnacles. We tested several hypotheses on the causes of morphological variation in the cirri and penises of the barnacle Tetraclita stalactifera at sites differing in wave exposure, at different heights in the intertidal zone, and at different levels of population density. Unlike many other acorn barnacle species, cirrus and penis characteristics did not correspond to differences in wave exposure or crowding. However, barnacles from higher tidal elevations had thicker cirri and thicker penises than those from lower elevations. Because of reduced time submerged at higher elevations, increased thickness may be a means of compensating for reduced feeding and mating opportunity by allowing for continued feeding and mating attempts during periods of greater wave action. Our observations of differences in cirrus and penis morphology suggest that phenotypic plasticity in penis and cirrus characteristics are adaptations shared by the species T. stalactifera and other acorn barnacles, but that T. stalactifera responds differently to environmental stimuli than do other species.
J. Matthew Hoch and Kevin V. Reyes. 2015. Effects of Tidal Height and Wave Exposure on Cirrus and Penis Morphology of the Acorn Barnacle Tetraclita stalactifera .Invertebrate Biology , (3) : 231 -241. https://nsuworks.nova.edu/occ_facarticles/694.