Fun Limpet Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Jan 10, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Smriti Chaudhary
Limpet facts are very informative.

Any kind of gastropod mollusks or snails of the aquatic environment is called a limpet and those belonging to Patellogastropoda are the true limpets. Limpets belong to the family of Patellidae. All species of water limpet are said to be true limpets.

The species of true limpets flaunt a pretty flat or conical shell of different colors. Common limpet (Patella vulgata) is an example of a true limpet.

They mainly inhabit the salty ocean water and rocky shores and on rare occasions, they are found in freshwater. Limpets have profound use in the human world. It forms a food delicacy in many countries as its shell is not poisonous and even its shell is used in the jewelry industry.

They have a number of predators in and outside the sea. The common predators of a limpet include small mammals, birds, starfish, seals, and even humans.

Limpets have many behavioral similarities with barnacles except the nature of the body. They are often eaten by birds, fish, and humans. To know more information about limpets, continue reading these limpet facts.

Check out the articles on crabs and jellyfish facts too.

Limpet Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a limpet?

Limpet is a type of sea snail that is found in coastal regions. Any marine snail-like mollusk or even freshwater snails are termed limpets. They are polyphyletic which means that a number of ancestral gastropods have formed various groups of limpets. Limpets have a few species under them all of which express more or less similar characteristics.

What class of animal does a limpet belong to?

The common name for all species belonging to the class gastropods are called limpets but the true ancient limpets belong to the class palletogastropods.  

How many limpets are there in the world?

Limpets are sea slugs that are found all over the world. These marine species can adapt to any kind of aquatic environment and multiply there in huge numbers. As a result, it is very difficult to keep track of the worldwide population of limpets. They face the fear of extinction in many places.

Where does a limpet live?

The common limpets of the limpet species are found commonly on all the rocky shores and coasts present in the United Kingdom. They are common along the shores of the Western European sea. Apart from that true limpets distribution are found all over the world in various places along the rocky shore.

What is a limpet's habitat?

Limpets have a specific habitable region in the sea which is called the intertidal zone. The intertidal zone is such a patch of shore that remains above the water level during the hours of low tide and below the water during high tide.

In deep-sea, they inhabit the hydrothermal vent sites and colder deep sites. Near the shores, in the subtidal region, they are found to be attached with rocky substrates.

They also clamp on plants like red algae, brown algae, and marine grasses. The subtidal region provides a habitat for many marine animals.

Who do limpets live with?

Limpet lives alone in its shell under algae or on rock surfaces. However, they remain in close proximity to each other in the ocean.

How long does a limpet live?

The different species of limpets show differences in their mortality rates. The lifespan also varies according to their habitat choice. Under suitable conditions, a limpet can live up to 10-20 years.

How do they reproduce?

A common limpet reproduces while being in the water. Under their suitable conditions, a female limpet releases eggs, and the males release sperms which fertilize outside, in the water, and the young ones are produced in this process.

This method of spawning in limpets is said to be broadcast spawning. Outside fertilization helps the parents to look after and protect them from wild predators. Spawning in limpets prevails mainly during the winter months.

The larger species can produce millions of eggs while smaller species produce fewer eggs. The larvae go through multiple stages before metamorphosing into an adult limpet. Marine limpets protect their egg by keeping them safe in the mantle cavity.

Some also practice brood protection or the act of protecting the eggs from predators by keeping them in the mouth. After being fertilized in the sea, the young ones crawl away.

What is their conservation status?

 The IUCN Red List has different species of limpets under different statuses. For example, freshwater limpets come under Least Concern and Rust-eating limpets are classified as Near Threatened, while common limpets are Not Evaluated.

Limpet Fun Facts

What do limpets look like?

The common predators of a limpet include small mammals

Limpets have conical or capped shells that remain attached to rocks or marine plants. The apex of the cones is present at the center of the shells or in the anterior part.

The shells are also ribbed or have concentrated spiral lines running on them. The black-footed limpet shells are a bit flat, while China limpets have orange coloration inside the shell. The shell of the subtidal species is pinkish or whitish.

The limpet shell color again varies in the intertidal species. The intertidal limpets, like a common limpet, have grayish and light brown shells covered with white spots.

A single pair of tentacles are present on their head. They have a ventral mouth opening and contain some robust teeth. The limpet teeth are made up of some of the strongest elements to exist.

They have cup-shaped eyes and their tongue is covered with such tiny limpet teeth using which they can even scrape of rock. The lungs in limpets are placed over their head.

How cute are they?

A limpet is a shell animal. So measuring its cuteness on the basis of its appearance is impossible. Despite that, its small cone-shaped cones look very cute and are even used to make jewelry.

How do they communicate?

The limpet's communication is mainly visual. The conical curvature of the shell has the orientation of the stripes on it in such a way that at least one colored part of the shell is clearly visible.

The high-intensity colors reflect the farthest in the seawater because of the less absorbent color range of the shell. Blue and green colors can travel a long distance in the sea giving an optimum range for visual communication. The pheromones present in its mucus also helps in communicating.

How big is a limpet?

The shell size of these small creatures is mainly considered as the size of the limpet. The length of a limpet's shell ranges from 0.19-7.9 in (5 -200 mm) . The largest recorded limpet was 7.9 in (20 cm). In common limpets, females are slightly bigger in size.

How fast can a limpet move?

Limpets move with the help of muscular foot. A small contraction of the foot leads to their movement in the front and back direction.

Limpets creep very slowly only on their wish. If a limpet clamps onto its home scar, no one has the ability to move it against its wish. For this reason, limpets are considered to be a stubborn species.

How much does a limpet weigh?

The total weight of limpets ranges from 0.007-0.3 oz (0.2-8.4 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There is no distinction between the names of a female limpet and that of a male limpet. Sex changes are common in limpets. On maturity, male limpets change their sex to become female.  

What would you call a baby limpet?

The limpet eggs on hatching give birth to millions of baby limpets and they are called larvae.

What do they eat?

Limpets are herbivores in nature. They graze on marine algae that grow on sea beds or rock surfaces. They scrape the algae from these surfaces with the help of its strong tongue known as a radula. The small species feed on microscopic marine algae while the larger ones can eat the stipes or stalks of such plants.  

Are they eaten by humans?

There are food values present in a limpet. Edible species of limpets are found in different areas of the world.

They have been included in the diet of humans for thousands of years and they formed a delicious meal of the coastal areas. In Hawaii and in Portugal, limpets are considered to be delicacy foods. However, due to overhunting by humans, the size of a limpet animal is believed to be reduced.

Would they make a good pet?

Limpets prefer to stay in their preferred habitat or else they cannot survive. So before petting them you need to be able to provide the ideal living conditions. However, their shells can be used as decorations in aquariums.

Did you know...

Limpets wander around during the time of high tide but come back to their home scar when the low tide sets in.

How long can limpets live depending on their habitat?

Limpets have different lifespans according to their choice of habitat. A common limpet living under algae has lesser longevity than those living on rock surfaces. Under algae, limpets can stay alive for only two or three years while they can last for 16 years if they live on rock surfaces.

Do limpets go home at the end of the day?

Limpets move using their muscular foot. A common limpet moves for the first few years and finally settles in its home for the rest of its life.

Living for years at the same spot on a rock causes the rock surface to be scarred by the edges of a limpet's shell.

It is still not clear how the limpet brain works and how they find their way back to the same spot every time. However, limpets leave a trail of mucus behind them, and it is thought they follow this to get back to their spot.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods including oysters or mussels.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our barnacle coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Smriti Chaudhary

Bachelor of Technology specializing in Information Technology

Smriti Chaudhary picture

Smriti ChaudharyBachelor of Technology specializing in Information Technology

Smriti, a student data scientist, and coder, is pursuing her Bachelor of Technology at K.J. Somaiya College of Engineering. She has achieved top rankings in the International English Olympiad, National Spelling Bee, and PSAT/SAT English Section. She is experienced in content creation and editing for various academic institutions.

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