© 2014, © 2014 Taylor & Francis. Amphibalanus amphitrite is a common fouling barnacle distributed globally in tropical and subtropical waters. In the present study, the genetic (mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I) and morphological differentiation in A. amphitrite from 25 localities around the world were investigated. The results revealed three clades within A. amphitrite with a genetic divergence of ~ 4% among clades, whereas there were no diagnostic morphological differences among clades. Clade 1 is widely distributed in both temperate and tropical waters, whereas Clade 3 is currently restricted to the tropical region. The deep divergence among clades suggests historical isolation within A. amphitrite; thus, the present geographical overlaps are possibly a result of the combined effects of rising sea level and human-mediated dispersals. This study highlights the genetic differentiation that exists in a common, widely distributed fouling organism with great dispersal potential; future antifouling research should take into account the choice of lineages.