BIOTIC Species Information for Patella vulgata
Researched byJacqueline Hill Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byProf. Steve J. Hawkins
General Biology
Growth formConical
Feeding methodHerbivore
Environmental positionEpifaunal
Typical food typesWide range of micro-organisms and algae, including Fucus spp., germlings, other algal sporelings and encrusting red algae. HabitFree living
BioturbatorNot relevant FlexibilityNone (< 10 degrees)
FragilityRobust SizeSmall-medium(3-10cm)
HeightInsufficient information Growth Rate2 mm/month
Adult dispersal potentialNone DependencyIndependent
General Biology Additional InformationFemale size at maturity
The species is protandric. Females are generally larger although small females are occasionally found. (Orton et al., 1956).

Growth rate
Value given is the maximum rate of increase in shell length observed in the first year of growth by Blackmore (1969). From the findings of many workers however, it is clear that growth fluctuates from year to year and from place to place to such an extent it is difficult to make general statements. Growth depends on temperature and is greatest in summer, least in winter. Growth also varies between microhabitats being greater under fucoids (17.1 mm per year) than on barnacles (14.7 mm per year) where locomotion and grazing are difficult. Growth rates and longevity are inversely related. Animals under fucoids grow rapidly and may live only 2-3 years whereas those on bare rock, with little food, grow slowly but may live 15-16 years. Limpets move about when the tide is in and the sea is not too rough. Animals are more active when submerged due to the lower energetic cost of moving on mucus when under water. Under thick fucoid covering or when conditions are damp, individuals may be found on the move after the tide has fallen.

Biology References Hayward & Ryland, 1995b, Hayward et al., 1996, Fish & Fish, 1996, Fretter & Graham, 1994, Fretter & Graham, 1976, Blackmore, 1969, Orton et al., 1956, Jones, 1948, Lewis & Bowman, 1975, Davis & Fleure, 1903, Thompson, 1980,
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