an approach to detecting fouling and invasive barnacle species
The present study used DNA barcodes to identify individual cyprids to species. This enables accurate quantification of larvae of potential fouling species in the plankton. In addition, it explains the settlement patterns of barnacles and serves as an early warning system of unwanted immigrant species. Sequences from a total of 540 individual cypris larvae from Taiwanese waters formed 36 monophyletic clades (species) in a phylogenetic tree. Of these clades, 26 were identified to species, but 10 unknown monophyletic clades represented non-native species. Cyprids of the invasive barnacle, Megabalanus cocopoma, were identified. Multivariate analysis of antennular morphometric characters revealed three significant clusters in a nMDS plot, viz. a bell-shaped attachment organ (most species), a shoe-shaped attachment organ (some species), and a spear-shaped attachment organ (coral barnacles only). These differences in attachment organ structure indicate that antennular structures interact directly with the diverse substrata involved in cirripede settlement.