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The Seashore

Blue-rayed Limpet (Patella pellucidum)

delicate and beautiful limpets

These delicate and beautiful limpets are small, 0.5 - 1.5 cm long. In their first year they are transparent with 3 iridescent blue lines running across the top of the shell.

In the first year of their development the small mollusc is transparent and the individuals feed on the blades of kelp. Here they feed by rasping away with the radula (tongue with teeth) leaving small depressions. When the kelp sheds the blades of fronds in the autumn the limpets are lost. There is a subspecies, P. pellucida laevis, which, responding to changing day length as autumn approaches, crawls with gravity usually ending up in the holdfast of the kelp where it resumes feeding. In time this may severely weaken the holdfast and the following years gales may cause it to detach from the rock killing both mollusc and kelp.

The habitat for the blue-rayed limpet is living on the surface of kelp (Laminaria) which is found in the lower shore of rocky seashores. They are found throughout the Atlantic and channel region where the seaweed is found.

The scientific name has changed over the years and you may see it in books as either Patina or Helcion although it has recently gone back to Patella.

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