Black-footed limpet (Patella depressa)

NBN Interactive26-11-2003

Map accurate at time of writing. Visit NBN or OBIS to view current distribution

Researched byMarie Skewes Refereed byAdmin
AuthorityPennant, 1777
Other common names- Synonyms-



Patella depressa is distinguished from Patella vulgata by its smaller, flatter shell. The outer surface of the shell is greyish, the inner surface yellowish-white with brown marginal rays. The foot is olive to dark grey (almost black), on tentacles around the edge of mantle white. Apex of the shell anterior. Shell length up to 3 cm long.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Patella depressa is a southern species predominately found on the south and west coasts of the British Isles.

Global distribution

Found on the Atlantic coasts of Europe and in the Mediterranean.


On exposed, wave-beaten rocky shores from the middle to the lower shore.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Capricious brilliant white marginal tentacles.
  • Blackish foot.
  • Brown rays on inside of shell.
  • Strongly ridged shell with a squarish rear edge and two capricious rays running to the edge.

Additional information

Patella depressa is notable for not having spread to Ireland from Britain, almost certainly because the distance across St. George's channel is too great for larval dispersal. Seawater warming as a result of climate change is likely to result in northward migration of distribution.

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

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  1. Fish, J.D. & Fish, S., 1996. A student's guide to the seashore. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  2. Graham, A., 1971. British Prosobranchs. London: Academic Press.[Synopses of the British Fauna, no. 2.]

  3. Hawkins, S. J. & Jones, H. D., 1992. Rocky Shores. London: Immel.

  4. Hayward, P., Nelson-Smith, T. & Shields, C. 1996. Collins pocket guide. Sea shore of Britain and northern Europe. London: HarperCollins.

  5. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. (ed.) 1995b. Handbook of the marine fauna of North-West Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  6. Hiscock, K., Southward, A., Tittley, I., Jory, A. & Hawkins, S., 2001. The impact of climate change on subtidal and intertidal benthic species in Scotland. Scottish National Heritage Research, Survey and Monitoring Report , no. 182., Edinburgh: Scottish National Heritage

  7. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E. (ed.), 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  8. McMillan, N.F., 1968. British Shells. London: Frederick Warne & Co Ltd.

  9. NBN (National Biodiversity Network), 2002. National Biodiversity Network gateway., 2008-10-31


This review can be cited as:

Skewes, M. 2003. Patella depressa Black-footed limpet. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Available from:

Last Updated: 26/11/2003