Marine Biology

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 225–238 | Cite as

Description of a Tetraclita stalactifera panamensis community on a rocky intertidal Pacific shore of Panama

  • A. A. Reimer


The midlittoral zone at Paitilla Beach, Panama, Is occupied by a group of organisms closely associated with Tetraclita stalactifera panamensis. Upon death, this cirripede provides housing for a number of species bound by common substrata and interacting with each other due to their close physical proximity; the faunistic group associated with each barnacle qualifies then, as a small, well-defined community which represents a subsample of the more comprehensive midlittoral community dominated by T. stalactifera panamensis. In patches where it is abundant, T. stalactifera panamensis occupies 28% of the surface area available. It has a relative abundance of only 1% of the specimens found in the zone, but all the other 95 species (with an average of 26, 810 individuals/m2) identified from the area are associated either with the parietal canals, or the external or internal surfaces of T. stalactifera panamensis tests. Each one of these structures represents a habitat which provides surface for attachment, shelter, or both, to 37 species of polychaetes, 32 of mollusks, 20 of crustaceans, 3 of actiniarians, 2 of pycogonids, 2 of sipunculans and an unknown number of tanaid, nemertean and turbellarian species. The single most diverse space-niche is represented by the parietal canals (H=0.783), occupied mostly by polychaetes. dead barnacles harbor an average of 131 individuals per test, which compose a fauna of higher diversity (H=0.678) than that associated with live barnacles (H=0.163). The latter contain 53 specimens per test on the average. Although there is considerable overlapping of species associated with the different T. stalactifera panamensis space-niches, mollusks are clearly more abundant on internal surfaces, polychaetes in parietal, canals; Balanus spp. on external surfaces, and anemones at the base of the parapet on the external surfaces of the tests. Over 220 species of macro-invertebrates were identified from the rocky intertidal at Paitilla. Most of the species are concentrated in the lower (157 species, 1824 specimens/m2) and midlittoral (96 species, 26, 810 specimens/m2) intertidal zones. Splash zone is depauperate (6 species, 1578 specimens/m2). Of the entire fauna identified from the intertidal, 73 species (33%) occur in more than one zone and 147 (67%) are restricted to a particular belt. This last category of zone-restricted species breaks down into 42% for the lower intertidal, 17% for the midlittoral, 6% for the intermediate zone, and 2% for the splash zone.


Beach Mollusk Polychaete Internal Surface Intertidal Zone 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. A. Reimer
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Smithsonian Tropical Research InstituteCanal ZonePanama
  2. 2.208 Life Sciences IThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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