Coral Barnacles

From Microcosm Aquarium Explorer

Pyrgomatid - Gray, 1825
Coral Barnacles

Pyrgomatid or coral barnacles.jpg

These barnacles are usually harmless to the corals they're attached to. Scott W. Michael

Overview

These barnacles are specialized to live on scleractinian corals and hydrocorals. They attach to, and then bore into, the coral. They secrete a single shell around themselves that is often covered by subsequent coral growth, so all that is seen is a rounded or conical bump on the surface of the coral with a slit or oval opening at the top. A typical barnacle filtering fan extends from this opening to feed on plankton.

Family: Pyrgomatidae

Other common name(s):

Native range:

Maximum length: 3 cm (1 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 38 L (10 gal)

Lighting: Immaterial.

Water: Marine 24 °C (75 °F) - 28 °C (82 °F)

Feeding

Difficult to provide with enough food. Can be fed enriched Artemia or some other moderately large high-energy foods. Phytoplankton are too small.

Aquarium Compatibility

They don’t really do harm to the coral they're attached to, although their activities may slightly weaken the coral’s skeleton and/or they may intercept food before it gets to the coral.


Notes

When the barnacle dies, the coral often grows over its shell and all evidence that a barnacle was once there disappears, except for a rather odd lump on the coral’s surface.

Reference: A PocketExpert Guide to Marine Invertebrates
Image credit: SWM
Text credit: RLS