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Découverte de la réserve

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The Common Limpet

Patella vulgata

The Limpet possesses a hard cone-shaped shell that has earned it the nickname of “Chinese hat”.

The Limpet spends half of the time on dry ground and the other half underwater, as it likes to live in the intertidal zone. This gastropod mollusc, that is to say one whose stomach is situated in the foot (like the snail), spends all its life clinging to the same stone. Indeed, the Limpet grows by giving the edge of its shell the shape of the stone it is sitting on. This is the reason why the short walks it takes during the flood to feed always bring it back to the same place and the same spot on its stone. Gripping to it with its foot functioning as a suction pad, it can retain enough water to secure its survival between floods. It is capable of leading a life in slow motion and bearing dry spells and strong fluctuations of salinity and temperature.

The Limpet feeds on micro-algae; all by crawling on its foot, it is capable of feeding by scraping the stones with its radula, a sort of tongue studded with many rows of small teeth, at an average speed of 5 mm/min. It is of interest to scientists worrying about protecting this habitat, as the Limpet could play a role in the fight against the proliferation of algae on certain rocky coasts.

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