information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

A barnacle (Hesperibalanus fallax)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.



Solidobalanus fallax is a small barnacle reaching 12 mm in diameter, typically epibiotic and found in shallow seas. The shell is comprised of 6 poreless shell plates (parietes) and a poreless calcareous base. The shell plates are generally white with reddish-pruple patches. The opercular membrane bear brown or black banding on a yellow field.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

In the British Isles, Solidobalanus fallax has only been recorded from the southwest coasts of England and Wales.

Global distribution

Considered native to the Atlantic Coast of tropical Africa, Solidobalanus fallax is considered to have extended its range North through Portugal and France to Belgium and the Netherlands.


Solidobalanus fallax is typically epibiotic on a wide range of organisms including other crustaceans, hydroids, algae and molluscs. It has also been recorded from man-made objects such as plastics and lobster pots. Solidobalanus fallax is found in the upper sublittoral to around 200 m.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Shell almost globose, with thin walls.
  • Basis and shell plates without pores.
  • Lateral projections on shell plates sloped, giving the orifice a toothed look.
  • Opercular membrane yellow with brown or black banding.

Additional information

Solidobalanus fallax is considered to be non-native within the British Isles as well as northern Europe believed to have relatively recently expanded its range northward from Africa.

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

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    1. Cofnod – North Wales Environmental Information Service, 2018. Records of Invasive Non Native Species held on the Cofnod database. Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-09-25.

    2. Fenwick, 2018. Aphotomarine. Occurrence dataset Accessed via on 2018-10-01

    3. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from:

    4. OBIS (Ocean Biogeographic Information System),  2019. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2019-05-26


    This review can be cited as:

    Hosie, A.M. 2008. Hesperibalanus fallax A barnacle. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 26-05-2019]. Available from:

    Last Updated: 07/10/2008