Larval vision contributes to gregarious settlement in barnacles: adult red fluorescence as a possible visual signal

K. Matsumura, P.-Y. Qian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Gregarious settlement, an essential behavior for many barnacle species that can only reproduce by mating with a nearby barnacle, has long been thought to rely on larval ability to recognize chemical signals from conspecifics during settlement. However, the cyprid, the settlement stage larva in barnacles, has one pair of compound eyes that appear only at the late nauplius VI and cyprid stages, but the function(s) of these eyes remains unknown. Here we show that cyprids of the intertidal barnacle Balanus (=Amphibalanus) amphitrite can locate adult barnacles even in the absence of chemical cues, and prefer to settle around them probably via larval sense of vision. We also show that the cyprids can discriminate color and preferred to settle on red surfaces. Moreover, we found that shells of adult B. amphitrite emit red auto-fluorescence and the adult extracts with the fluorescence as a visual signal attracted cyprid larvae to settle around it. We propose that the perception of specific visual signals can be involved in behavior of zooplankton including marine invertebrate larvae, and that barnacle auto-fluorescence may be a specific signal involved in gregarious larval settlement.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)743-750
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 26 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): SA-C0040, UK-C0016
Acknowledgements: This study was supported by grants from the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (GRF662413 and AoE/P-04/04-II) and an award from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (SA-C0040/UK-C0016) to P.-Y.Q.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


Dive into the research topics of 'Larval vision contributes to gregarious settlement in barnacles: adult red fluorescence as a possible visual signal'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this