The common limpet is a well-known seashore species (2). It has a conical shell, the outer surface of which is greyish-white. Shells situated higher up on the shore tend to have taller shells than those on the lower shore (3). The underside of the muscular 'foot' on which the limpet moves around is yellow, orange or brown and often has a green or greyish tint
Like other limpets, the Common Limpet lives attached to stones or rocks around the lower and midshore. It feeds on algae and seaweed that grows on the rocks, using its rasping tongue to graze.
How to identify
There are three very similar species of limpet: the inside of the shell of Patella depressa has dark and pale radiating stripes and it is mainly found around the south of the country, while Patella ulssiponensis has an orange patch on the inside of its shell. Both these species are slightly smaller than Patella vulgaria. The Common Limpet has a greyish, conical shell.
Limpets are marine gastropod molluscs with an oval shaped conical shell. They have a very strong muscular foot which they use to hold onto small imperfections in the rock surface, meaning that they can hold on very tightly, giving the false impression that suction is
involved. When the tide is out, its large foot forms a seal to make sure that it does not dry out. The overall shape of the limpet combined with the powerful grip of its foot allows it to withstand the
constant pounding of the waves and surf of the lower tidal zone. The muscular foot also encases the limpet’s stomach. Its shell is secreted from a fold of tissue called the mantle, and special muscles
attach the limpet to its shell at the base of the point of the shell. Limpets can often reach a width of 5cm with varying heights. The limpet moves by rippling the muscles of its foot in a series of waves.
Limpets use a long thin tube-like toothed-tongue or radula to rasp algae off the rocks. When it feeds, it extends two tentacles in front of its body to find...