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Temporal range: Miocene–Recent
Chelonibia patula on Blue crab.jpg
Chelonibia patula on the blue crab Callinectes sapidus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Maxillopoda
Order: Sessilia
Suborder: Balanomorpha
Superfamily: Coronuloidea
Family: Chelonibiidae
Pilsbry, 1916
Genus: Chelonibia
Leach, 1817

Chelonibia is a genus of acorn barnacles in the monotypic family Chelonibiidae of the subphylum Crustacea. Its members are epizooic and live attached to manatees, turtles, marine molluscs, crabs and horseshoe crabs in all tropical and subtropical oceans.[1] In a few instances, they have been found on sea snakes,[2] alligators[3] and inanimate substrates,[4] but they are not found in the typical habitats of barnacles – on rocks, docks or boats.


They appear to be the sister group to the Balanidae.[5]


The fossil record of Chelonibia ranges back to the Miocene.[6]


The genus contains four extant species:[7][8]

Recent molecular genetic work suggests that three of the species, Chelonibia manati, C. patula and C. testudinaria, are all the same species. Depending on the host species, they develop plastically very distinct morphology but cannot be distinguished on the genetic level.[9]

Three species are only known from the fossil record:


  1. ^ Newman, William A.; A. Ross (March 31, 1976). "Revision of the balanomorph barnacles including a catalog of the species". San Diego Society of Natural History Memoirs. 9: 1–109. 
  2. ^ Badrudeen, M. (2000). "On the occurrence of the cirriped barnacle, Chelonibia patula (Ranzani) on the sea snake, Hydrophis cyanocintus (Daudin)". Marine Fisheries Information Service, Technical and Extension Series. 164: 25. 
  3. ^ Nifong, James; M. G. Frick (2012). "First record of the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) as a host to the sea turtle barnacle (Chelonibia testudinaria)". The Southeastern Naturalist. 10 (3): 557–560. doi:10.1656/058.010.0316. 
  4. ^ Frazier, J. G.; D. Margaritoulis (1990). "The occurrence of the barnacle, Chelonibia patula (Ranzani, 1818), on an inanimate substratum (Cirripedia, Thoracica)". Crustaceana. 59 (2): 213–218. JSTOR 20104595. doi:10.1163/156854090x00688. 
  5. ^ Perez-Losada, M.; M. Harp; J. T. Høeg; Y. Achituv; D. Jones; H. Watanabe; K. A. Crandall (2008). "The tempo and mode of barnacle evolution" (PDF). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 46 (1): 328–346. PMID 18032070. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2007.10.004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-11-22. 
  6. ^ Harzhauser, M.; W. A. Newman; P. Grunert (2011). "A new Early Miocene barnacle lineage and the roots of sea-turtle fouling Chelonibiidae (Cirripedia, Balanomorpha)". Journal of Systematic Paleontology. 9 (4): 473–480. doi:10.1080/14772019.2010.528053. 
  7. ^ Ryota Hayashi (2012). "A checklist of turtle and whale barnacles (Cirripedia: Thoracica: Coronuloidea)". Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. 93: 143–182. doi:10.1017/S0025315412000847. 
  8. ^ Benny K. K. Chan (2012). "Chelonibia Leach, 1817". World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved December 1, 2012. 
  9. ^ Cheang C; Tsang L; Chu K; Cheng I-J; Chan B (2013). "Host-Specific Phenotypic Plasticity of the Turtle Barnacle Chelonibia testudinaria: A Widespread Generalist Rather than a Specialist". PLoS ONE. 8 (3): e57592. PMC 3585910Freely accessible. PMID 23469208. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057592.