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Austromegabalanus psittacus , Photo: Michael Lahanas

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Protostomia
Cladus: Ecdysozoa
Cladus: Panarthropoda
Phylum: Arthropoda
Cladus: Pancrustacea
Superclassis: Multicrustacea
Classis: Thecostraca
Subclassis: Cirripedia
Superordo: Thoracica
Ordo: Sessilia
Subordo: Balanomorpha
Infraordo: Neobalanoformes
Superfamilia: Balanoidea

Familia: Balanidae
Subfamilia: Megabalaninae
Tribus: Austromegabalanini
Genus: Austromegabalanus
Species: Austromegabalanus psittacus

Austromegabalanus psittacus (Molina, 1788: 223)

Original genus: Lepas
Original status: valid species
Type locality: Chiloe Archipelago, Chili
Types: none designated
ZooBank: 2DAEF737-A286-4AAF-9946-709DA61F1B6F


Balanus picos Lesson, 1820
Balanus cylindraceus Lamarck, 1818: 391
ZooBank: 6F060C85-B9EC-45FF-BD8B-5DA6DA5F26CF
Megabalanus psittacus chilensis Menesini, 1967: 47 (nomen nudum)


Darwin, C. 1854. A monograph on the sub-class Cirripedia with figures of all species. Vol. 2: The Balanidae, The Verrucidae. BHL London: Ray Society. Reference page. [See p. 206, as Balanus psittacus]
Hosie, A.M. & Ahyong, S.T. 2008. First records of the giant barnacles, Austromegabalanus nigrescens (Lamarck, 1818) and A. psittacus (Molina, 1782) (Cirripedia: Balanidae) from New Zealand, with a key to New Zealand Balanidae. Zootaxa 1674: 59–64. Abstract & excerpt. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.1674.1.5 Reference page.
King, P.P. 1832 (July). Description of Cirrhipeda, Conchifera and Mollusca, in a collection formed by the officers of H.M.S. Adventure and Beagle employed between the years 1826 and 1830 in surveying the southern coasts of South America, including the Straits of Magalhaens and the coast of Tierra del Fuego [“assisted by W. J. Broderip”]. The Zoological Journal 5(19): 332–349 (Article XLVII). BHL Reference page. [See p. 333, as Balanus psittacus] (generic reassignment)
Molina, J.I. 1782. Saggio sulla Storia Naturale del Chili. Stamperia di S. Tomaso d'Aquino: Bologna. 367 pp. Reference page. Internet Archive Given erroneously as original reference in Pilsbry, 1916, and most later authors. This work is botanical.
Molina, J.I. 1788: Compendio de la historia geografica, natural y civil del reyno de Chile. En Madrid: por Don Antonio de Sancha. Año M. DCC. LXXXVIII. Se hallará en su librería en la Aduana Vieja.,[1788]. 386 pp. BHL [In Spanish] Reference page. [See p. 223, as Lepas psittacus] Reference given in Darwin, 1854. Species is listed here.
Newman, W.A. 1979: On the biogeography of balanomorph barnacles of the Southern Ocean including new balanid taxa: A subfamily two genera and three species. IN Proceedings of the International Symposium of Marine Biogeography and Evolution in the Southern Hemisphere. New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research information series 137 1: 279–306. Reference page.
Newman, W.A.; Ross, E. 1976: Revision of the balanomorph barnacles; including a catalog of the species. Memoirs of the San Diego Society of Natural History, (9) BHL Reference page. [See p. 68, as Megabalanus psittacus]
Perreault, R.T. 2016. On the authorship of Austromegabalanus psittacus (Molina). Zootaxa 4169(2): 375–375. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4169.2.7 Reference page.
Pilsbry, H.A. 1909: Report on barnacles of Peru, collected by Dr. R.E. Coker and others. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 37(1700): 63–74. BHL Reference page. [See p. 66 for discussion of authorship]
Pilsbry, H.A. 1916: The sessile barnacles (Cirripedia) contained in the collections of the US National Museum; including a monograph of the American species. Bulletin of the United States National Museum, (93) DOI: 10.5962/bhl.title.1144 Reference page. [See p. 75, as Balanus (Megabalanus) psittacus]
Pitombo, F.B. 2004: Phylogenetic analysis of the Balanidae (Cirripedia, Balanomorpha). Zoologica Scripta 33(3): 261–276. DOI: 10.1111/j.0300-3256.2004.00145.x Reference page. [See p. 275, as Austromegabalanus psittacus]

Austromegabalanus psittacus, the giant barnacle or picoroco as it is known in Spanish, is a species of large barnacle native to the coasts of southern Peru, all of Chile and southern Argentina.[2][3] It inhabits the littoral and intertidal zones of rocky shores and normally grows up to 30 centimetres (12 in) tall with a mineralized shell composed of calcite.[4] The picoroco barnacle is used in Chilean cuisine and is one of the ingredients in curanto.

Austromegabalanus psittacus is a large sessile barnacle that lives in groups on hard substrates. It has a tall cone-shaped carapace composed of twelve large plates made of calcite microcrystals which are cemented together. The basal disc is firmly cemented to a hard surface. It grows to a height of 30 centimetres (12 in). There is an opening at the top with a hinged operculum through which the thoracic limbs known as "cirri" protrude. The general colour is dull white with purple and brown markings.[5]
A. psittacus at rest (left) and later using its cirri (right) for filter feeding

Austromegabalanus psittacus is a simultaneous hermaphrodite. Individual barnacles are fertilised by sperm passed through a slender tube extended by a neighbouring barnacle. The eggs are retained inside the carapace where they are incubated for about three or four weeks. They then hatch into free swimming nauplius larvae which form part of the plankton. These pass through six stages over the course of about 45 days, the last being a cyprid stage. These larvae are about 1 mm (0.04 in) long and settle on the seabed, usually in the proximity of other barnacles.[6]

Often the larvae settle so close together that hummocks are formed as the juvenile barnacles grow. Under these circumstances the calcareous base becomes modified into a more porous, cylindrical form above which the carapaces tower, the central individuals being about twice as tall as the outside ones. The density of the barnacles in the hummocks can be more than 1000 individuals per square metre (11 sq ft).[6] This ability to form hummocks give this species an advantage when they are competing for space with other species of barnacle.[6] It is an omnivorous filter feeder.[3][7]

Austromegabalanus psittacus is a coastal species found in southern Peru, along the entire length of Chile (including offshore Juan Fernández Islands) and southern Argentina in the intertidal and littoral zone.[3][8] It is recorded at depths of 0–35 m (0–115 ft),[7] but is mostly found at 2–20 m (7–66 ft).[8] It is most common in the Los Lagos area in Chile and is harvested for human consumption, mainly in the towns of Calbuco, Carelmapu and Puerto Montt.
Use by humans and oceanic organisms
Austromegabalanus psittacus for sale at a food market in Santiago de Chile

This barnacle forms part of Chilean cuisine.[9] Its meat is highly prized and is one of the ingredients of the Chilean dish curanto. This is traditionally made from various seafood ingredients cooked in a large pit preheated with red-hot stones. Modern cooking methods use a large pot, conventionally heated.[10]

Overfishing has reduced the quantities of Austromegabalanus psittacus available for commercial harvesting. There are plans to cultivate it along the coast of Chile and there are possibilities of exporting it to Japan.[3]

In addition to humans, it is sometimes eaten by the sea star Heliaster helianthus and the clingfish Sicyases sanguineus,[8] although the latter only can prey on small animals (large Austromegabalanus psittacus are apparently safe).[11]

Chan, Benny K.K. (2012). "Austromegabalanus psittacus (Molina, 1788)". WoRMS. World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 2013-01-01.
Robert W. Simpfendörfer; Karin B. Oelckers; David Nash; Daniel A. López (2005). "Kinetic properties of the muscular pyruvate kinase from the giant marine barnacle, Austromegabalanus psittacus (Molina, 1782) (Cirripedia, Balanomorpha)". Crustaceana. 78 (10): 1203–1218. doi:10.1163/156854005775903573.
López, Daniel A.; López, Boris A.; Arriagada, Sergio E.; González, María L.; Mora, Oscar A.; Bedecarratz, Paula C.; Pineda, Mauricio O.; Andrade, Lorenzo I.; Uribe, José M.; Riquelme, Verónica A. (2012). "Diversification of Chilean aquaculture: the case of the giant barnacle Austromegabalanus psittacus (Molina, 1782)". Latin American Journal of Aquatic Research. 40 (3): 596–607. doi:10.3856/vol40-issue3-fulltext-9.
Alejandro B. Rodríguez-Navarro; Christiane CabraldeMelo; Nelson Batista; Nilton Morimoto; Pedro Alvarez-Lloret; Miguel Ortega-Huertas; Victor M. Fuenzalida; Jose I. Arias; Juan P. Wiff; Jose L. Arias (2006). "Microstructure and crystallographic-texture of giant barnacle (Austromegabalanus psittacus) shell". Journal of Structural Biology. 156 (2): 355–362. doi:10.1016/j.jsb.2006.04.009. PMID 16962792.
Rodrıguez-Navarro, Alejandro B.; CabraldeMelo, Christiane; Batista, Nelson; Morimoto, Nilton; Alvarez-Lloret, Pedro; Ortega-Huertas, Miguel; Fuenzalida, Victor M.; Arias, Jose I.; Wiff, Juan P.; Arias, Jose L. (2006). "Microstructure and crystallographic-texture of giant barnacle (Austromegabalanus psittacus) shell" (PDF). Journal of Structural Biology. 156 (2): 355–362. doi:10.1016/j.jsb.2006.04.009. PMID 16962792.[permanent dead link]
López, Daniel A.; López, Boris A.; Burgos, Ignacia C.; Arriagada, Sergio E.; González, María L. (2007). "Consequences of base modification in hummocks of the barnacle Austromegabalanus psittacus". New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research. 41 (3): 291–298. doi:10.1080/00288330709509916. S2CID 84436972.
Palomares ML, Pauly D, eds. (2018). "Austromegabalanus psittacus" in SeaLifeBase. October 2018 version.
Carolina J. Zagal; Consuelo Hermosilla C. (2007). Guía de Invertebrados marinos del sur de Chile. Editorial Fantástico Sur, Punta Arenas, Chile. p. 149. ISBN 978-956-8007-19-5.
"El picoroco!". Restaurant La Barca (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2016-01-12. Retrieved 2013-01-02.)
"The curanto". ThinkQuest. Archived from the original on 2013-06-24. Retrieved 2013-01-02.
Paine, R.T.; A.R. Palmer (1978). "Sicyases sanguineus: a Unique Trophic Generalist from the Chilean Intertidal Zone". Copeia. 1978 (1): 75–81. doi:10.2307/1443824. JSTOR 1443824.


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