Gene rearrangement and sequence analysis of mitogenomes suggest polyphyly of Archaeobalanid and Balanid barnacles (Cirripedia: Balanomorpha)

Ling Ming TSANG, Xin SHEN, Chi Chiu CHEANG, Ka Hou CHU, Benny Kwok-Kan CHAN

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The acorn barnacles (Cirripedia, Thoracica, Balanomorpha) are a diverse group of crustaceans found in virtually all marine and estuarine habitats. Barnacles are important model species in various biological researches, including evolution, intertidal ecology, larval biology and antifouling. However, there remains a lack of a thorough understanding of the phylogeny for this group of animals, particularly at higher taxonomic levels. In this study, we attempt to determine the phylogenetic relationships among balanomorphan families based on analysis of complete mitochondrial genome from various barnacle families and investigate the evolution of mitogenome in barnacles. Whole mitogenomes of six barnacles were newly sequenced, including Acasta sulcata (Archaeobalanidae), Armatobalanus allium (Archaeobalanidae), Chelonibia testudinaria (Chelonibiidae), Octomeris sp. (Chthamalidae), Savignium biporata (Pyrgomatidae) and Tetraclitella divisa (Tetraclitidae), which exhibit five different gene arrangements. Phylogenetic analysis on 15 complete mitochondrial genome sequences from major barnacle families supported Chthamalidae, Pyrgomatidae and Tetraclitidae formed monophyletic units, but suggested polyphyly of both Archaeobalanidae and Balanidae. Chthamalidae was the earliest diverged lineage in Balanomorpha. Chelonibiidae + Tetraclitidae formed the sister taxon to the monophyletic superfamily Balanoidea (Archaeobalanidae + Balanidae + Pyrgomatidae). The members of Archaeobalanidae and Balanidae intermingled in the inferred topology with the monophyletic Pyrgomatidae deeply nested within. Two Megabalanus species from the family Balanidae and A. sulcata from the family Archaeobalanidae share the same six-gene-cluster inversion as compared to the other ten balanomorphan barnacles, providing further evidence for the non-monophyly for the two families. We showed here that the informativeness of the complete mitogenome sequence and rare genomic events in resolving various questions concerning Balanomorpha relationships. The non-monophyletic status of Archaeobalanidae and Balanidae falsified many previous hypotheses concerning the complex evolution of Balanomorpha and call for further investigations and careful revision on the taxonomy of the group. Future study focusing on the enigmatic and tentatively basal lineages, for example, Chionelasmatoidea Pachylasmatoidea and Catophragmidae, would be most helpful in fully resolving the phylogeny and mitogenome evolutionary history of acorn barnacles. Copyright © 2017 Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)729-739
JournalZoologica Scripta
Issue number6
Early online dateMay 2017
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017



Tsang, L. M., Shen, X., Cheang, C. C., Chu, K. H., & Chan, B. K. K. (2017). Gene rearrangement and sequence analysis of mitogenomes suggest polyphyly of Archaeobalanid and Balanid barnacles (Cirripedia: Balanomorpha). Zoologica Scripta, 46(6), 729–739.