The sunfish Mola mola as an attachment surface for the Lepadid Cirriped Lepas anatifera – a previously unreported association

João Pedro Barreiros and Manuel Teves

aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology, pp. 1-4, Volume 10, Issue 1 – June 2005


On the 14th September 2004 a stranded sunfish (Mola mola) was found on the south coast of Terceira Island, Azores Archipelago (NE Atlantic). Whilst examining its mouth for the possible presence of  plastic debris, we discovered a live colony of the cirriped Lepas anatifera attached to the anterior portion of the sunfish’s oesophagus. This previously undescribed association expands the ecological niches exploited by goose barnacles with apparent advantages such as a regular intake of food and protection both from hydrodynamic hazards and from predators.

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