Barnacles are interesting organisms that require a specific habitat in order to survive.  In general, barnacles exist in salt-water environments or marine locations. Within those environments, Chthamalidae tend to live in the intertidal zone and specific locations can depend on competition. With their glue-like substance, barnacles can also be found attached to hard surfaces. (Fofonoff PW, Ruiz GM, Steves B, & Carlton JT 2003) These surfaces can range from rocks and woody debris, to ship hulls, and animals like turtles and whales.

            Although native to the Eastern coast of North America, Chthamalus fragilis is now also found in other locations such as the Gulf of Mexico and the Cape Verde Islands. Starting off, this organism was first discovered in Charleston, South Carolina, but then they later found in parts of Florida, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut. (Fofonoff PW, Ruiz GM, Steves B, & Carlton JT 2003) Chthamalus fragilis has migrated and continued to expand its geographical habitat. Because of attachment to ships and other moving substrates, the migration of Chthamalus fragilis can continue as long as a suitable habitat is found.

            Within marine environments, this barnacle is found in intertidal locations, more specifically, Chthamalus fragilis live in the upper intertidal zone. C. fragilis is found just above the genus of barnacle, Semibalanus, which live a layer below them. (Fofonoff PW, Ruiz GM, Steves B, & Carlton JT 2003)

            Like other species, the geographic location of Chthamalus fragilis can be determined by its competition. Competition with C. fragilis was explored relative to location, and it was found that C. fragilis was more abundant in places their competition—Semibalanus balanoides—was unable to live due to their own temperature restrictions. (Wethey, D.S. 2002) Because of the tolerance to higher temperatures, Chthamalus fragilis can be found just southern of Cape Cod.

            Like other barnacles, Chthamalus fragilis attach themselves to hard substrates. In general, this barnacle attaches itself to rocks, ship hulls, woody debris, and docks. C. fragilis is an “acorn barnacle” which happens to develop straight onto a substrate, therefore serving as a permanent home.

            In general, Chthamalus fragilis has continued move around the world to different locations and areas. With different ways of migration, the movement of this particular barnacle is not limited and has potential to continue. Therefore, further research is able to be conducted on the location and migration of this organism.


Fofonoff PW, G.M. Ruiz, B. Steves, & J.T. Carlton. 2003.
National exotic marine and estuarine species information system. <URL: http://invasions.si.edu/nemesis/>.
Accessed 3 Mar 2014

Dougherty, W.J. 1990. Barnacle adhesion: reattachment of the adult barnacle Chthamalus fragilis Darwin to polystyrene surfaces followed by centrifugational shearing. Journal of Crustacean Biology 10:469-478

Wethey, D.S. 2002. Biogeography, competition, and microclimate: the barnacle Cthamalus fragilis in New England. Integrative and comparative biology. P. 872-880

Sturm, C.F. Pearce, T.A. and Valdés, A. 2006. The Mollusks: A Guide to Their Study, Collection, and Preservation. Universal Publishers, Boca Raton, Florida 

learner.org 2003. Journey North <URL: http://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/Barnacle.html>. Accessed 25 March 2013

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