Marine Biology

, Volume 148, Issue 4, pp 875–887 | Cite as

Reproductive development of the barnacle Chthamalus malayensis in Hong Kong: implications for the life-history patterns of barnacles on seasonal, tropical shores

  • Yan Yan
  • Benny K. K. ChanEmail author
  • Gray A. Williams
Research Article


Hong Kong, lying just below the Tropic of Cancer (22°17′N, 114°09′E), experiences a strongly seasonal environment, with a cool almost temperate winter and a hot, tropical, summer. Histological sectioning of the gonads of the high-shore barnacle, Chthamalus malayensis Pilsbry, showed a seasonal trend in the development of its reproductive organs. Four stages of female gonad development were identified according to the cell types present: post-spawning, resting, growth and mature stages. The female gonad was mature from April to November, which was related to seawater temperatures, and entered a resting phase from December to March. Although the male gonad showed a seasonal developmental trend and reached maximum maturity in summer, the seminal vesicles were full of spermatozoa and functional throughout the year. The reproductive season of this species is therefore solely dependant upon the maturity of the female gonad. The estimated maximum number of broods per year was up to 10 and the maximum number of eggs produced per brood can reach 3,000 eggs. The minimum size for female gonad maturity was 6 mm rostro-carinal diameter (RCD) at which size, the barnacles were ~6-month old. Sperm production occurred at a smaller size (2 mm=2-month old). Compared with Chthamalus montagui and Chthamalus stellatus from temperate regions, C. malayensis produced a greater number of broods per year, had a longer reproductive period and faster gonad development. Chthamaloid barnacles in tropical regions may, therefore, invest more energy per year in reproduction during their life span. Contrary to the seasonal gonad developmental pattern of C. malayensis in the present study, however, C. malayensis in Singapore (which experiences only slight seasonal variation) had mature female and male gonads throughout the year, further supporting the strong role of climatic conditions effecting the reproductive biology of barnacles.


Seminal Vesicle Seawater Temperature Tidal Level Female Gonad Male Gonad 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful to Mr. H.I. Leung (histological sectioning unit, HKU) and Dr Priscilla T.Y. Leung (Department Ecology and Biodiversity, HKU) for helping with the histological sectioning. Thanks to Dr Kenneth M.Y. Leung (HKU) for his constructive advice in statistical analysis, Dr Ruth O’Riordan (The National University of Singapore) and the Hard Rock Ecology Group, Department of Ecology & Biodiversity, HKU for constructive comments on the manuscript. This study was funded by a University of Hong Kong studentship to Y.Y. Permission to work at the Cape d’Aguilar Marine Reserve was granted by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, The Hong Kong Government.


  1. Achituv Y, Barnes H (1976) Studies in the biochemistry of Cirripede eggs V Changes in the general biochemical composition during development of Chthamalus stellatus (Poli). J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 22:263–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barnes H (1956) The growth rate of Chthamalus stellatus (Poli). J Mar Biol Assoc UK 35:355–361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barnes H (1963) Light, temperature and breeding of Balanus balanoides. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 32:297–304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barnes M (1989) Egg production in cirripedes. Oceanogr Mar Biol A Rev 27:91–166Google Scholar
  5. Burrows MT, Hawkins SJ, Southward AJ (1992) A comparison of reproduction in co-occurring chthamalid barnacles, Chthamalus stellatus (Poli) and Chthamalus montagui Southward. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 160:229–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cai RX, Huang ZG (1986) Reproductive characteristics of some cirripedia in Hong Kong Waters. In: Morton B (ed) The marine flora fauna of Hong Kong and Southern China, Hong Kong, Proceedings of the second international marine biological workshop: the marine flora and fauna of Hong Kong and Southern China, Hong Kong 1986. Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong, pp 945–960Google Scholar
  7. Chan BKK, Williams GA (2004) Population dynamics of the acorn barnacles Tetraclita squamosa and Tetraclita japonica in Hong Kong. Mar Biol 146:149–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Charnov EL (1987) Sexuality and hermaphorditism in barnacles: a natural selection approach. In: Southward AJ (ed) Barnacle biology. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, pp 89–104Google Scholar
  9. Cimberg RL (1981) Variability in brooding activity in the stalked barnacle Pollicipes polymerus. Biol Bull 160:31–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Connell JH (1985) Variation and persistence of rocky shore populations. In: Moore PG Seed R (eds) The ecology of rocky coasts. Hodder and Stoughton, London, pp 57–69Google Scholar
  11. Creese RG, Ballantine WJ (1983) An assessment of breeding in the intertidal limpet Cellana radians (Gmelin). J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 67:43–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Crisp DJ (1954) The breeding of Balanus porcatus (Da Costa) in the Irish Sea. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 33:473–496CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Crisp DJ (1986) A comparison between the reproduction of high- and low latitude barnacles, including Balanus balanoides and Tetraclita (Tesseropora) pacifica. In: Thompson MF, Sarojini R, Nagabhushanam R (eds) Biology of benthic organisms: techniques and methods as applied to the Indian Ocean. Oxford and IBH Publishing Co, New Delhi, pp 69–84Google Scholar
  14. Cruz T, Hawkins SJ (1998) Reproductive cycle of Pollicipes pollicipes at Cabo de Sines, south-west coast of Portugal. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 78:483–496CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dye AH (1993) Aspects of the population dynamics of Chthamalus dentatus (Crustacea: Cirripedia) on the Transkei Coast of Southern Africa. S Afr J Mar Sci 13:25–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Giese AC, Pearse JS (1974) Introduction and general principles. In: Giese AC, Pearse JS (eds) Reproduction of marine invertebrates, vol 1. Academy Press, New York, pp 2–38Google Scholar
  17. Hilgard GH (1960) A study of reproduction in the intertidal barnacle Mitella polymerus in the Monterey Bay, California. Biol Bull 119:169–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hines AH (1978) Reproduction in three species of intertidal barnacles from central California. Biol Bull 154:262–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Humason GL (1962) Animal tissue techniques. Freeman WH Co, San FranciscoCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kaehler S, Williams GA (1996) Distribution of algae on tropical rocky shores: spatial and temporal patterns of non-coralline encrusting algae in Hong Kong. Mar Biol 125:177–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Karande AA, Palekar VC (1963) Observations of the breeding activity of the shore barnacle Chthamalus malayensis Pilsbry in Bombay Harbour. J Def Sci 13:130–137Google Scholar
  22. Koh LL, O’Riordan RM, Lee WJ (2004) Sex in the tropics: reproduction of Chthamalus malayensis Pilsbury (class Cirripedia) at the equator. Mar Biol 145:381–391Google Scholar
  23. Korn OM, Kolotukhina NK (1984) Reproduction of the barnacle Chthamalus dalli in the sea of Japan. Sov J Mar Biol 9:84–91Google Scholar
  24. Lessells CM (1991) The evolution of life histories. In: Krebs JR, Davis NB (eds) Behavioral ecology: an evolutionary approach, 3rd edn. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, pp 32–68Google Scholar
  25. Leung TY (2002) Ecology of the stalked barnacle Capitulum mitella and Ilba cumingi (Crustacea: Pendunculata) in Hong Kong, PhD Thesis, The University of Hong Kong, Hong KongGoogle Scholar
  26. Lewis CA, Chia FS (1981) Growth, fecundity, and reproductive biology in the pedunculate cirripede Pollicipes polymerus at San Juan Island, Washington. Can J Zool 59:893–901CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Molares J, Tilves F, Quintana R, Rodríguez S, Pascual C (1994) Gametogenesis of Pollicipes cornucopia (Cirripedia: Scalpellomorpha) in north-west Spain. Mar Biol 120:53–60Google Scholar
  28. O’Riordan RM, Myers AA, Cross TF (1991) Chthamalus stellatus (Poli) and Chthamalus montagui Southward (Cirripedia): Variation in embryo numbers with species, habitat and shore level. In: Myers AA et al (eds) The ecology of Lough Hyne, proceedings of a conference, 4–5 September, 1990. Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, pp 71–78Google Scholar
  29. O’Riordan RM, Myers AA, Cross TF (1992) Brooding of the intertidal barnacles Chthamalus stellatus (Poli) and Chthamalus montagui Southward in south-western Ireland. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 164:135–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. O’Riordan RM, Myers AA, Cross TF (1995) The reproductive cycles of Chthamalus stellatus (Poli) and C montagui Southward in south-western Ireland. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 190:17–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. O’Riordan RM, Murphy O (2000) Variation in the reproductive cycle of Elminius modestus in southern Ireland. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 80:607–616CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Page HM (1984) Local variation in reproductive patterns of two species of intertidal barnacles, Pollicipes polymerus Sowerby and Chthamalus fissus Darwin. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 74:259–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Sebens KP (1987) The ecology of indeterminate growth in animals. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 18:371–407CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Southward AJ, Crisp DJ (1956) Fluctuations in the distribution and abundance of intertidal barnacles. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 35:211–229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Southward AJ, Newman WA (2003) A review of some common Indo-Malayan and western Pacific species of Chthamalus barnacles (Crustacea: Cirripedia). J Mar Biol Assoc UK 83:797–812CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Walker G (1980) A study of the oviduct glands and ovisacs of Balanus balanoides (L), together with comparative observations on the ovisacs of Balanus hameri (Ascanius) and the reproductive biology of the two species. Phil Trans R Soc B 291:147–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Walker G (1992) Cirripedia. In: Harrison FH, Humes AG (eds) Microscopical anatomy of invertebrates, vol 9: Crustacea. Wiley-Liss, New York, pp 249–311Google Scholar
  38. Yan Y (2002) The ecology of the high shore barnacle Chthamalus malayensis in Hong Kong, PhD Thesis. The University of Hong Kong, Hong KongGoogle Scholar
  39. Yan Y, Chan BKK (2001) Larval development of Chthamalus malayensis (Cirripedia: Thoracica) reared in the laboratory. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 81:623–632CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Zar JH (1999) Biostatistical analysis. Prentice-Hall, USAGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yan Yan
    • 1
  • Benny K. K. Chan
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Gray A. Williams
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology & BiodiversityThe Swire Institute of Marine Science, The University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  2. 2.Research Centre for BiodiversityTaiwanChina

Personalised recommendations