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Observations On the Relationship Between Octolasmis Grayii (Darwin, 1851) (Cirripedia, Thoracica) and Certain Marine Snakes (Hydrophiidae)

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Over 1300 marine snakes were examined for epifaunal organisms. Thirteen species were found with the obligate epizoite barnacle, Octolasmis grayii. The sea snake Lapemis hardwickii had one of the higher rates of infestation and the distribution of O. grayii was examined in more detail for this species. In L. bardwickii estimates of infestation rates varied from 29% to 75%. The number of barnacles per snake varied (0-62) but of those snakes bearing barnacles most had only a few (1-3). The distribution of barnacles over the body of the snakes is not random. Many more barnacles are found on the posterior quarter of the body (s-v) and tail, and the barnacles show a definite tendency to clump locally. O. grayii grows to about 14.0 mm total length and becomes reproductively active at about 3.3 mm. Several stages of its life cycle are illustrated. Among them are: the attachment of the cyprid larva and the subsequent rotation to the adult position; a sub-adult, or recently metamorphosed form; and a gravid adult. At the time of attachment to the snake scale the larvae show a definite (93%, n = 100) anterior-posterior orientation parallel to the anterior-posterior axis of the snake and facing anteriorly. The cement pad secreted by the barnacle has an intimate relationship to the scale surface and its microomamentation but apparently does not permeate its surface.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa. 17013, U.S.A.; 2: Division of Amphibians and Reptiles, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Illinois, 60605, U.S.A.


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