Diverse life strategies in two coral-inhabiting barnacles (Pyrgomatidae) occupying the same host (Cyphastrea chalcidicum), in the northern Gulf of Eilat

I. Brickner, Y. Loya, Y. Achituv

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Barnacles are one of the most common and well-studied groups in marine ecology. In the Gulf of Eilat, the barnacle assemblages in the subtidal zone are dominated by epibionts, inhabiting stony corals, hydrozoans and sponges. Pyrgomatidae barnacles are obligatory symbionts of scleractinian corals and hydrozoans. For many organisms there is a relationship between life strategies, as predicted by the r-K selection theory, and degree of habitat specialization. Earlier studies have suggested that coral-inhabiting barnacles exhibit a tendency towards the r-endpoint. In the present research we studied the life strategy of two pyrgomatidae: Trevathana sarae, a host specialist; and Cantelius pallidus, considered a host generalist, both of which occur on the same coral host, Cyphastrea chalcidicum. Our results indicate that the two species of barnacles present two different life strategies. T. sarae fits more into the K-strategy model: a slow development, late maturity (2. years), long life span (6. years), large embryos 440 μ, and a low number of propagules (ca. 40). In contrast, C. pallidus exhibits the r-selected traits: a fast development, early maturity (1. year), short life span (2. years), small embryos 270 μ, and a high number of propagules (ca. 300). These findings support the hypothesis that associates the tendency of a species strategy towards the r-or K-endpoint with the degree of habitat specialization. Furthermore, the results highlight the diversity of life strategies existing in the Pyrgomatidae.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-227
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Volume392
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2010

Keywords

  • Barnacles
  • Cantellius
  • Coral-inhabitant
  • Life strategy
  • Pyrgomatids
  • Trevathana

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