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Free Content A Study of Thermal Conductance in Relation to Shell Geometry of Tetraclita Squamosa Japonica (Crustacea: Cirripedia)

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Tetraclita squamosa japonica Pilsbry, 1916 is a balanomorph barnacle inhabiting the eulittoral zone of Hong Kong's rocky shores where substrate temperatures approach 40°C during daytime low tides in the summer. The shell wall is a complex structure of several layers of macroscopic, calcareous parietal canals, which together form a considerable thickness. The selective advantage of such a shell construction strategy with respect to thermal tolerance is discussed. The variation in shell geometry of this species is reported; in particular, it was noted that individuals inhabiting horizontal substrates had a reduced relative shell height (shell height : mean base radius) when compared to those on vertical rock faces. This study also found that the thermal conductance of shells of the former group was significantly lower than the latter. The importance of this phenomenon in delaying the onset of evaporative cooling during daytime low tides in the summer is discussed.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 1990

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