Goose Barnacles: Hosts

In 1879 a botany professor at the University of Strassburg, Antoine de Bary, published a scientific paper in which he introduced the term symbiosis to encompass the wide range of cohabitation relationships utilized by living organisms- from very loose to truly obligatory- in which representatives of different species live together intimately, the partner species being referred to as the “host” and the “symbiont” respectively.

No single term better describes the living arrangements of the small marine crustaceans, pedunculate barnacle species of the genus Octolasmis, than symbiosis.  Indeed, the symbiotic octolasmids never live alone. Rather their hosts include species of animal phyla such as Chordata (fish and sea snakes), Cnidaria (corals), Echinodermata (starfish and echinoids), and Mollusca (clams).  Predominantly, however, they live in intimate association with other marine species of their own phylum, Arthropoda, such as horseshoe crabs of the subphylum Chelicerata and, much more frequently, with crabs, isopods, lobsters, and stomatopods of the subphylum Crustacea.   Arguably, the symbiotic way of life is the key to the success of Octolasmis species in the tropical, subtropical, and temperate seas of the world.