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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Common Limpet Patella vulgata

Abundant on rocks from the high to the low water mark, the common limpet is superbly adapted to shore life. A conical shell protects it from predators and the elements. Common limpets live at the low water mark and are buffeted by the waves and so require smaller, flatter shells than those living at the high water mark, where wider, taller shells allow for better water retention during periods of exposure. Limpets travel slowly during low tide, covering up to 24 in (60 cm) using contractions of their single foot. They graze on algae from rocks using a radula (a rasplike structure), which has teeth reinforced with iron minerals.

Common Limpetzoom image
  • Class Gastropoda
  • Diameter 2 in (6 cm)
  • Habitat Rocks on high shore to sublittoral zone
  • Distribution Northeastern Atlantic from Arctic Circle to Portugal
Common Limpet habitat mapzoom image