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The Seashore

Keyhole Limpet (Diodora graea)

Keyhole Limpet (Diodora graea)

They grow to 25 mm in length but can be found much smaller than this. Although superficially like the Common Limpet (Patella species) Diodora is distinguished by having a "key" hole at the apex which is the end of a water siphon through which water leaves the mantle cavity. Another difference is that this is a carnivore not a grazer. It preys on sponges (just visible in the picture above). The sexes are separate and breeds in the spring. It is thought that sperm enters the female by coming through the hole in the apex.

They are found on the lower shore of sheltered rocky coasts, on the western side of the UK.

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