Using growth rates to estimate age of the sea turtle barnacle Chelonibia testudinaria

  title={Using growth rates to estimate age of the sea turtle barnacle Chelonibia testudinaria},
  author={Sophie A. Doell and Rod M. Connolly and Colin James Limpus and Ryan M. Pearson and Jason P. van de Merwe},
  journal={Marine Biology},
Epibionts can serve as valuable ecological indicators, providing information about the behaviour or health of the host. The use of epibionts as indicators is, however, often limited by a lack of knowledge about the basic ecology of these ‘hitchhikers’. This study investigated the growth rates of a turtle barnacle, Chelonibia testudinaria, under natural conditions, and then used the resulting growth curve to estimate the barnacle’s age. Repeat morphometric measurements (length and basal area) on… 

Abundance, placement and sexual identity of the epizoic barnacle Chelonibia testudinaria relative to the size and species of host turtles in Mabul Island, Malaysia

Abstract Sea turtles are partners in commensal relationships with a variety of epibionts, including barnacles. The acorn barnacle Chelonibia testudinaria is one species commonly found associated with

Barnacle Epibiosis on Sea Turtles in Korea: A West Pacific Region With Low Occurrence and Intensity of Chelonibia testudinaria (Cirripedia: Chelonibiidae)

Loggerhead and green turtles inhabit all oceans except the polar regions. External surfaces of sea turtles are often colonized by epibiotic chelonibiid barnacles. Barnacle taxonomy studies in Korea

A Global Synthesis of the Correspondence Between Epizoic Barnacles and Their Sea Turtle Hosts

It is paradoxical that the flexibility of barnacles for multiple host species contrasts with their overall strict specificity for sea turtles, with each symbiont occupying a virtually unique suite of turtle hosts.

Distinguishing between sea turtle foraging areas using stable isotopes from commensal barnacle shells

A novel method is used that combines barnacle growth rates and stable isotope analysis of barnacle shells (δ18O and δ13C) as predictors of home area for foraging sea turtles based on isotope ratios from the shells of the barnacles that were attached to them.

Evidence for Host Selectivity and Specialization by Epizoic Chelonibia Barnacles Between Hawksbill and Green Sea Turtles

A case of apparent host specificity between two barnacles that are epizoites of sea turtles is investigated and the hypothesis that the larvae of these barnacles differentially select host species from a shared supply is supported.

Stable isotopes and epibiont communities reveal foraging habitats of nesting loggerhead turtles in the South West Indian Ocean

The complementary evidence from isotope and epibiont data thus indicates that nesting loggerheads of this population exhibit a bimodal foraging strategy and shows the value of using a combination of stable isotopes and epIBiont communities as cost-effective tools to derive information on habitat-use patterns of migratory species.

Unique Post-telemetry Recapture Enables Development of Multi-Element Isoscapes From Barnacle Shell for Retracing Host Movement

Many ecological investigations rely on understanding the movement of animals through marine environments. Most available tracking techniques are invasive (e.g., tissue sampling) and require extensive

Global oxygen isoscapes for barnacle shells: Application for tracing movement in oceans.

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  • 2021



Growth rate and reproductive condition of the barnacle Conchoderma virgatum on gravid leatherback sea turtles in Caribbean waters

Leatherback sea turtles nesting at regular time intervals on Sandy Point, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, provided an opportunity to obtain multiple measurements of Conchoderma virgatum, a pedunculate epibiotic cirriped, and significant plasticity in both maximum size and intrinsic growth rate may exist between populations exposed to different physio-ecological regimes.

Substratum fidelity and early growth in Chelonibia testudinaria, a turtle barnacle especially common on debilitated loggerhead (Caretta caretta) sea turtles

It is indicated that C. testudinaria larvae recruit and grow at significantly higher rates along the open shore vs protected areas, but do not recruit differentially to the four substratum types, including carapace from healthy and debilitated loggerheads.


This is the first complete description of larval development in a turtle barnacle, and implications for the association of barnacles with sea turtles are discussed relative to spatio-temporal aspects of cyprid attachment and the life history of sea turtles.

Spatial distribution of turtle barnacles on the green sea turtle, Chelonia mydas

It is suggested that obtaining basic information on turtle epibionts will shed light on the biology of wild turtles, which is still largely unknown.


The greatly enhanced growth rates under these conditions suggest that the presence of other organisms and in particular heavy algal growth is an important factor in restricting the growth rate under natural conditions.

Growth, Mortality, and Mating Group Size of an Androdioecious Barnacle: Implications for the Evolution of Dwarf Males

The data suggest that small mating groups on some hosts and high mortality on all hosts contribute to the evolutionary origin and persistence of dwarf males.

Deconstructing an assemblage of “turtle” barnacles: species assignments and fickle fidelity in Chelonibia

A worldwide molecular phylogenetic survey of Chelonibia collected from nearly all known hosts found that of four species, three (C. testudinaria, C. patula, and C. manati) are genetically indistinguishable, leading to the conclusion that the three former taxa are morphotypes of the same species and should be synonymized under C. testUDinaria.

Temporal, spatial, and body size effects on growth rates of loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) in the Northwest Atlantic

Because of the significant spatial and temporal variation in growth rates, population models of NWA loggerheads should avoid employing growth data from restricted spatial or temporal coverage to calculate demographic metrics such as age at sexual maturity.

Stable isotopes in barnacles as a tool to understand green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) regional movement patterns

Barnacle proxies could complement other methods in understanding regional movement patterns, informing more effective conservation policy that takes into account connectivity between populations.

Carapace epibionts of nesting loggerhead sea turtles: Atlantic coast of U.S.A.☆