Titan Acorn Barnacle

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Project Description

Titan Acorn Barnacle

Megabalanus coccopoma


Range/Geographical Distribution: Native to the Pacific coast from California to Ecuador but is now found along the east coast from North Carolina to the Gulf of Mexico.

Habitat: Hard substrates such as rocks, pilings, and boat hulls; usually in high salinity locations.

Description: A large acorn barnacle with pink and light pink coloration on its shell.

Size: Can grow to two inches in height and width.

Food: Suspension feeder; eats plankton.

Breeding: Simultaneous hermaphrodites but breed with neighboring individuals.  Fertilization is internal and released larvae go through several planktonic stages before settling and metamorphosizing into an adult.

Predators: Large size protects them from most predators.

Conservation Status: No legal status.

Interesting Facts: Titan acorn barnacles have a body mass that is up to 100 times greater than native barnacles.  This increased size can be detrimental to native species as the titan barnacles out-compete natives for both food and space.  Titan acorn barnacles, also called giant pink barnacles, were first observed outside their native range in 1851 on the hull of a ship at Le Havre, France.

On the Coast: Titan acorn barnacles were first found in GA in 2006.  They can now be found on the pilings and rocks around Tybee Island.

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