BIOTIC Species Information for Patella ulyssiponensis
Researched byKen Neal & Marie Skewes Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byThis information is not refereed.
Scientific namePatella ulyssiponensis Common nameChina limpet
MCS CodeW230 Recent SynonymsPatella aspera (Röding, 1798)

PhylumMollusca Subphylum
Superclass ClassGastropoda
SubclassProsobranchia OrderPatellogastropoda
Suborder FamilyPatellidae
GenusPatella Speciesulyssiponensis

Additional InformationPatella ulyssiponensis was formerly known as Patella aspera.
Taxonomy References Lincoln et al, 1998, Fish & Fish, 1996, Howson & Picton, 1997, Hayward & Ryland, 1995b, Hayward et al., 1996, Graham, 1988,
General Biology
Growth formConical
Feeding methodHerbivore
Environmental positionEpibenthic
Typical food typesEpilithic algae and biofilms. HabitFree living
BioturbatorNot relevant FlexibilityNone (< 10 degrees)
FragilityRobust SizeSmall-medium(3-10cm)
HeightInsufficient information Growth Rate5 - 7 mm/year
Adult dispersal potentialNone DependencyIndependent
General Biology Additional InformationOn rocky shores of wave exposure grade 1 (Ballantine scale: Ballantine, 1964), Patella ulyssiponensis occurs at densities of 1000 m² but individuals are small (Thompson, 1979). On less wave exposed shores density is lower but individuals are larger.

Patella ulyssiponensis is parasitised by Cercaria patellae, a trematode platyhelminth, which have infection levels of 5-10% in adults and can cause damage of the digestive gland. Gymnophallid metacercariae infect between the mantle and the shell and have an infection level of approximately 5%. The gut of Patella ulyssiponensis is sometimes infected by larval cyclophyllidean tapeworms (Kinne, 1980).

Biology References Thompson, 1979, Kinne, 1980, Delaney et al., 1998,
Distribution and Habitat
Distribution in Britain & IrelandThe china limpet is found around most of the coast of the British Isles, reaching its northern limit in the Shetland Isles. Absent or rare on south-east shores of England from the Humber Estuary to the Isle of Wight.
Global distributionPatella ulyssiponensis is a southern (Lusitanian) species extending south to the Mediterranean.
Biogeographic rangeNot researched Depth rangeIntertidal
MigratoryNon-migratory / Resident   
Distribution Additional InformationIn wave exposed situations, Patella ulyssiponensis is the commonest limpet on the lower shore.

Substratum preferencesBedrock
Physiographic preferencesOpen coast
Biological zoneSublittoral Fringe
Upper Infralittoral
Wave exposureExtremely Exposed
Very Exposed
Tidal stream strength/Water flowVery Strong (>6 kn)
Strong (3-6 kn)
SalinityVariable (18-40 psu)
Full (30-40 psu)
Habitat Preferences Additional Information
Distribution References Fish & Fish, 1996, Hayward & Ryland, 1995b, Fretter & Graham, 1994, Hayward et al., 1996, Graham, 1988,
Reproduction/Life History
Reproductive typeProtandrous hermaphrodite
Developmental mechanismPlanktotrophic
Reproductive SeasonAugust to October Reproductive LocationInsufficient information
Reproductive frequencyAnnual episodic Regeneration potential No
Life span11-20 years Age at reproductive maturity3-5 years
Generation time3-5 years FecundityInsufficient information
Egg/propagule sizeInsufficient information Fertilization typeInsufficient information
Larval/Juvenile dispersal potential>10km Larval settlement periodInsufficient information
Duration of larval stage2-10 days   
Reproduction Preferences Additional InformationMaturation of gonads begins in May/June and all mature individuals have ripe gonads by mid-August. Spawning occurs in October and is believed to be triggered by strong gales (Thompson, 1979). The sex ratio of this species varies with size of individual. For example, at 20 mm shell length, all mature individuals are male, while from 20 mm to full size the number of females increases until at 55 mm around 70% of the mature individuals are female (Thompson, 1979).
Reproduction References Thompson, 1979,
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