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Dosima fascicularis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Maxillopoda
Infraclass: Cirripedia
Order: Pedunculata
Family: Lepadidae
Genus: Dosima
Gray, 1825 [1]
Species: D. fascicularis
Binomial name
Dosima fascicularis
(Ellis & Solander, 1786) [2]
Synonyms [3]
  • Lepas fascicularis Ellis & Solander, 1786
  • Lepas cygnea Spengler, 1790
  • Lepas dilata Donovan, 1804
  • Pentalasmis spirulicola Leach, 1818
  • Pentalasmis donovani Leach, 1818
  • Anatiffia vitrea Lamarck, Coates, 1829
  • Lepas fasciculata Montagu, Coates, 1829
  • Pentalepas vitrea Lesson, 1830
  • Anatifa oceanica Quoy & Gaimard in Dumont d'Urville, 1832-1835

Dosima fascicularis, the buoy barnacle, is "the most specialised pleustonic goose barnacle" species.[4] It hangs downwards from the water surface, held up by a float of its own construction, and is carried along by ocean currents.


As an adult, D. fascicularis lives attached to a float made either of natural flotsam or of a cement it secretes itself, which has a texture like that of expanded polystyrene foam.[5] It is the only barnacle to produce its own gas-filled float.[3] The cyprid larvae are planktonic, and must attach to a float for metamorphosis into the adult form, but the adults are eventually capable of using their own float, sometimes forming aggregations of many individuals attached to a single float. Among the floats used by adult buoy barnacles are pellets of tar,[6] seaweeds,[3][7] plastic debris,[7] driftwood,[7] feathers,[3][4] cranberries,[3] cuttlefish bone,[3] the "by-the-wind-sailor" Velella velella, seagrass leaves,[4] Styrofoam,[6] seeds,[6] and even apples;[3] they have even been known to colonise the backs of turtles[8] and the sea snake Pelamis platurus.[9] It is a fugitive species, which can be out-competed by other barnacle species, and relies on being able to colonise surfaces and reproduce quickly; after settling on a float, D. fascicularis can reproduce within 45 days.[10] D. fascicularis appears to be increasing in abundance as a result of anthropogenic marine debris accumulating in the sea;[6] this source of floats was of "minor importance" in 1974.[4]

Related species[edit]

Although formerly placed in the genus Lepas, the buoy barnacle is now generally placed in its own monotypic genus, Dosima. Dosima is distinguished from Lepas by the form of the carina, and by the exceptional thinness and brittleness of its exoskeleton.[11]


D. fascicularis has a cosmopolitan distribution, with a preference for temperate seas,[12] having been found at latitudes from 71° North off Siberia to 57° South near Cape Horn.[3] Groups have been observed journeying from Japan to the Hawaiian Islands in the Pacific Ocean,[3] and sometimes wash up on westerly and southerly beaches in the British Isles, as well as westerly beaches further south in Europe.[5][13] It is not normally found in the Mediterranean Sea, but may have begun to colonise there from the Atlantic Ocean.[14]


  1. ^ "Dosima Gray, 1825". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved February 27, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Dosima fascicularis (Ellis and Solander, 1786)". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved February 27, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Norman E. Weisbord (1979). "Lepadomorph and verrucomorph barnacles (Cirripedia) of Florida and adjacent waters, with an addendum on the Rhizocephala". Bulletins of American Paleontology. 76 (306): 1–156. 
  4. ^ a b c d Lanna Cheng; Ralph A. Lewin (1974). "Goose barnacles (Cirripedia: Thoracica) on flotsam beached at La Jolla, California" (PDF). Fishery Bulletin. 74 (1): 212–217. 
  5. ^ a b Guy Baker, Marine Life Information Network for Britain and Ireland (November 18, 2006). "Beach life". New Scientist. 2578: 83. 
  6. ^ a b c d Dan Minchin (1996). "Tar pellets and plastics as attachment surfaces for lepadid cirripedes in the North Atlantic Ocean". Marine Pollution Bulletin. 32 (12): 855–859. doi:10.1016/S0025-326X(96)00045-8. 
  7. ^ a b c Martin Thiel; Lars Gutow (2005). "The ecology of rafting in the marine environment II: the rafting organisms and community" (PDF). Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review. 43: 279–418. doi:10.1201/9781420037449.ch7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-24. 
  8. ^ The Epibiont Research Cooperative (2007). "A synopsis of the literature on the turtle barnacles (Cirripedia: Balanomorpha: Cornuloidea) 1758–2007" (PDF). Epibiont Research Cooperative Special Publication. No. 1 (ERC–SP1): 62 pp. 
  9. ^ Fernando Alvarez; Antonio Celis (2004). "On the occurrence of Conchoderma virgatum and Dosima fascicularis (Cirripedia, Thoracica) on the sea snake Pelamis platurus (Reptilia, Serpentes) in Jalisco, Mexico". Crustaceana. 77 (6): 761–764. JSTOR 20105754. doi:10.1163/1568540041958536. 
  10. ^ W. O. Blankley (1985). "Extreme r-selection in Lepas fascicularis within the Natal offshore fouling community". South African Journal of Science. 81: 701.  Cited in Alvarez & Celis (2004).
  11. ^ Iván Hinojosa; Sebastián Boltaña; Domingo Lancellotti; Erasmo Macaya; Pabla Ugalde; Nelson Valdivia; Nelson Vásquez; William A. Newman; Martin Thiel (2006). "Geographic distribution and description of four pelagic barnacles along the south east Pacific coast of Chile - a zoogeographical approximation". Revista Chilena de Historia Natural. 79 (1): 13–27. doi:10.4067/S0716-078X2006000100002. 
  12. ^ Diana S. Jones (2003). "The biogeography of Western Australian shallow-water barnacles". In F. E. Wells; D. I. Walker; D. S. Jones. The Marine Flora and Fauna of Dampier, Western Australia (PDF). Western Australian Museum, Perth. pp. 479–496. ISBN 978-1-920843-07-6. 
  13. ^ P. J. Hayward; M. J. Isaac; P. Makings; J. Moyse; E. Naylor; G. Smaldon (1995). "Crustaceans". In P. J. Hayward; John Stanley Ryland. Handbook of the Marine Fauna of North-west Europe. Oxford University Press. pp. 289–461. ISBN 978-0-19-854055-7. 
  14. ^ M. Sciberras; P. J. Schembri (2007). "A critical review of records of alien marine species from the Maltese Islands and surrounding waters (Central Mediterranean)" (PDF). Mediterranean Marine Science. 8 (1): 41–66. doi:10.12681/mms.162. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-23.