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Variation in Limpets

Variation in Limpets
Photo Information
Copyright: Amelia Heath (Amelia) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 26 W: 0 N: 93] (310)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-06
Categories: Molluscs
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2010-09-02 11:22
Viewed: 4732
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 32
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Patellogastropoda, common name True Limpets, is a major group of marine gastropods, which have flattened come shaped shells. When they are living they are commonly found adhering strongly to rocks or other hard substrates, feeding by grazing on algae which grow on the rock surfaces where they live. They scrape up films of algae with a radula, a ribbon-like tongue with rows of 'teeth'. If they are touched while feeding, they immediately clamp themselves firmly and with considerable force, onto the substrate, and they are very difficult to remove. In fact, a limpet will allow itself to be destroyed rather than stop clinging to its rock. This mechanism also protects them from dessication at low tide. When they are firmly attached, chemicals are released that promote the vertical growth of the limpet's shell.

Limpets are preyed upon by a variety of organisms including starfish, shore-birds, fish and seals. They exhibit a variety of defenses, such as clamping their shells against the substratum or moving relatively slowly away using wave-like muscular contractions of a 'foot'.

Limpets such as these live in the intertidal zone, and are very common in northern waters. Using tagging methods, it has been found that they can live up to 20 years. Spawning occurs once a year, usually during winter, and is triggered by rough seas which disperse the eggs and sperm. Larvae float around for a couple of weeks before settling onto a hard substrate.

I found these shells in a very short space of time, all in one place, about 5 metres square, on coarse sand, surrounded by hard rocky outcrops of shale, quartz and gneiss. It surprised me to find such a variation in colour. This variation is in part due to species, the yellow coloured shells are likely to be Patella rustica, whereas the bluer ones may be Patella vulgata.

As a little aside, within Gaelic Scotland and Ireland, a limpet is known as a 'báirnach', and apparently limpets have boiled to use in a substitute for breast milk. I cannot imagine the similarity :)

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
Clade Patellogastropoda

For those of you who may wish to know what a 'Clade' is, I suggest you Google it :)

They really are a fascinating group of creatures.

uleko, eqshannon, Dis. Ac., haraprasan, marius-secan, jaycee, bahadir, horias, Hormon_Manyer, Miss_Piggy has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Argus: ColourAmelia 1 09-03 00:25
To uleko: ThanksAmelia 1 09-02 14:24
To eqshannon: Adrees to the barley seedAmelia 1 09-02 14:21
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Critiques [Translate]

Ciao Amelia. Absolutely an artistic brilliant graphic compo. Very good colours and graphic results. Best complimente and cheers!


  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2010-09-02 12:00]
  • [+]

Hello Amelia,
What a beautiful presentation of these Limpet shells all in lovely colours and very nicely arranged. Gret sharpness too and well framed.
Many thanks and cheers, Ulla

nice collection, TFS Ori

Address to the Barley Seed
When the Lord first planted oot the earth wi' trees an' flo'ers an' weeds,
He scattered roon' Speyside a puckle barley seeds;
Thus was the birth o' Scotia's brew on that fair springtime morn,
For in the month that followed, John Barleycorn was born.

The threshin' plant had scarce made off, the golden grain was cairted,
Syne bags for siller were exchanged an' industry was started.
O barley seed, had ye but known the fate that lay before ye,
The very day in which ye breared ye'd ha'e telt die earth tae smo'er ye.

Your very unique photo is one of a kind. It teaches through art, photography and especially notes which you have done well here and VERY well in describing your travels through your young life. How exciting. I wish you the best, such as this image..on TN

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2010-09-02 22:38]
  • [+]

Good morning Amelia,
I like the arrangement of these limpet shells, their ventral aspects showing a nice display of varying natural colours in an attractive pattern against the broken shell BG.
It is interesting to speculate why these shells vary so much in colour.
When alive on their rocky habitat they all seem to share the same rather drab colours when their dorsal aspects are seen.
Does the variation of the shells depend on the individual, how long they have been dead, sex, or what? I don't know, perhaps someone does
Thanks for this attractive and interesting contribution to TN accompanied by an excellent note.
Have a good weekend,

Goodmorning Amelia,

A nice composed and colourfull picture.
Very sharp and great details.
Fine colours.


Hi Amelia,
A lovely capture of these beautiful and colorful Limpet Shells. Nice arrangement. Very good composition and details. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Very good idea and interesting photo.

Hello Amelia,
Tha's alovely capture with superb details a excellent colours.
Nice composition and perfect focus.

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2010-09-03 7:20]

Very interesting species and lots of notes, very informative, well done. tfs.

Primero gracias por tus amables comentarios Amelia.
Nos presentas un conjunto muy estético que representa bien la diversidad de formas y colores de esta especie, poco vista además en Tn.
Un saludo y buen fin de semana: Josep Ignasi.

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2010-09-03 16:10]

Hi Amelia,

This is really an eye catching post. I found your notes most interesting since I am not familiar with Limpets. The arrangement and colors are just beautiful. You have captured them so nicely with fine details of each one.


Hello Amelia, wonderful macro of these limpets showing their colour variotion with nice pov and composition.
TFS and regards,

  • Great 
  • horias Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 837 W: 58 N: 2084] (11033)
  • [2010-09-07 11:50]

Hi Amelia
What a beautiful shot of this great colored shells!
You make a great job!

Hi Amelia,
Beautiful, artistic shot of limpets, awesome harmony of colors. Simply fantastic image, well deserves my little green star. Tfs.
Friendly regards, László

Hallo Amelia
I have not seen you around the site for a very long time and is just wondering what the reason could be. I miss your presence on the site.

So simple and basic, yet so beautiful and striking. a great combination shells in different colours, shapes and sizes all together in one. Composition is great, just as the clarity and detail. Thanks for sharing. Hope to see you back soon. Best regards.

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