A number of facts indicate that the diversity of chthamaloid barnacles is much lower now than it has been in the past. Among these are the relict, often disjunct geographic distributions of distinctive chthamaloid higher taxa and their representation by only a few living species. The living chthamaloid barnacles also have a disjunct bathymetric distribution: as we will document here in detail, they are concentrated in the intertidal zone and in deep water. In his rejoinder to our paper, Paine makes no cogent argument against our interpretations of this powerful evidence.
Our case that the balanoids have competitively displaced the more primitive chthamaloids is based on several facts: (1) the Chthamaloidea have dwindled during the Cenozoic Era, so that most have relict or refugial distributions, whereas the Balanoidea have undergone a remarkable adaptive radiation; (2) balanoid species are known to defeat chthamaloid species in competition for space; (3) the competitive success of the balanoids can be attributed to an inherent biological feature—a tubiferous skeleton, which fosters rapid growth; (4) the peak diversity of living balanoids coincides precisely with the bathymetric gap in the chthamaloids’ distribution.
We argue that the radiation of balanoids during the past 40 Myr or so has caused a decline in chthamaloid diversity by reducing and destabilizing low intertidal and shallow subtidal populations, thus elevating average rate of extinction and depressing average rate of speciation. This model allows for exceptions to the rule of balanoid competitive dominance, but contrary to Paine's claim, the exceptions that exist are either trivial or support our view.
Paine offers no alternative to our competition hypothesis. He suggests that an increase in predation has caused a decline in chthamaloid body size, but neither a Cenozoic trend in body size nor one in predation pressure has empirical support; furthermore, the body-size hypothesis has no direct bearing on the case we have presented.