The coral-eating barnacle Hoekia monticulariae (Gray, 1831), the only internal parasite among the Thoracica described to this day, is characterized by an irregularly-shaped shell nestled cryptically between the polyps of the hermatypic coral Hydnophora Fischer, 1807, which occurs throughout most of the Indo-West Pacific. Because of its protean form, cirripedologists have failed to appreciate the diversity of taxa related to Hoekia, , a presumed monotypic genus. We describe seven new species divided between Hoekia and three new genera, Eohoekia, Parahoekia, and Ahoekia for which the Tribe Hoekiini is proposed. As in other pyrgomatids, calcareous overgrowth by the coral is inhibited around the edge of the wall and aperture. But in Hoekiini a pseudopolyp, upon which the barnacle feeds with modified trophi, covers the wall and aperture. Furthermore, rather than articulating with a calcareous basis, the wall is suspended in coral tissue. Its hypertrophied lateral margin (= basal margin), in contact with the host’s tissue, is the site where metabolic activities are inferred to take place. In Hoekia and Ahoekia, the wall develops simple or connecting tubes that lead to openings in the margin, which serve as circulatory pathways. A hypertrophied margin and elaborated circulatory system suggests that the Hoekiini may not be wholly dependent on feeding directly on host tissue and/or coelenteronic material, but may also be absorptive parasites. Although other pyrgomatids, in the tribes Pyrgopsellini nov. and Pyrgomatini nov., exercise some control over their hosts by an apertural frill and through discontinuities between the shell and basis, they are still planktotrophic.

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Contributions to Zoology

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Naturalis journals & series

Ross, A., & Newman, W. A. (1995). A coral-eating barnacle, revisited (Cirripedia, Pyrgomatidae). Contributions to Zoology, 65(3), 129–175.