Upon infesting the hermit crab Pagurus proximus the parasitic barnacle Peltogaster reticulatus typically forms a single externa on each host. In vivo, histological and histochemical study revealed that most P. reticulatus with a single mature externa also exhibited three or four primordial externae and several buds of earlier developmental stages. It is shown that stolon buds and primordial externae in P. reticulatus internae intensively express alkaline phosphatase activity, the classical histochemical marker for mammalian embryonic stem and primary germ cells. Ovaries of the most developed primordial externae were filled with growing oocytes, so the process of oogenesis begins in the externa rudiments of P. reticulatus before the externae appear on the surface of the host body. Since the interna, which is connected to the mature externa, also integrated three or four additional primordial externae and several earlier buds, P. reticulatus, a non-colonial species based on the common presence of a single externa in each host, appears to have a hidden colonial organization at the parasitic stage of its life cycle.