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'Flying barnacles': implications for the spread of non-indigenous species

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The presence of adult barnacles of Fistulobalanus pallidus (Darwin) and Fistulobalanus albicostatus (Pilsbry) attached to field-readable plastic leg rings on the Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus in Northern Europe is reported. L. fuscus is a long-distance palaearctic migrant, breeding in temperate areas spreading widely over inland and marine habitats outside the breeding season. The species is known to perform long-distance migration to Africa and the Middle East. Combining present knowledge on the birds' migratory pattern and the home range of the barnacle species, it is concluded that the cypris larvae of F. pallidus must have settled in African waters, whereas the area where F. albicostatus settled on the bird leg rings is less certain. The barnacles were of adult size and must thus have been attached for a period of no less than 2 months. More than 30 individual barnacles could occur together on a single field-readable plastic leg ring. The barnacles could therefore, if ported alive to a new area, reproduce successfully and thus either introduce the species or genetically affect other native populations. This may pose a new and wholly unexpected transportation pathway for barnacles as invasive species.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftBiofouling
Vol/bind26
Udgave nummer5
Sider (fra-til)577-582
Antal sider6
ISSN0892-7014
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2010

ID: 21655672