Patella vulgata

Patella vulgata
Live Patella vulgata on a rock in Wales
A Shell of Patella vulgata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
(unranked): clade Patellogastropoda
Family: Patellidae
Genus: Patella
Species: P. vulgata
Binomial name
Patella vulgata
Linnaeus, 1758
  • Patella conica Anton, 1838
  • Patella hypsilotera Locard, 1892
  • Patella radiata Perry, 1811
  • Patella vulgata var. aurea Dautzenberg & Durouchoux, 1906
  • Patella vulgata var. communis Brown, 1844
  • Patella vulgata var. elevata Jeffreys, 1865
  • Patella vulgata var. major Dautzenberg & Durouchoux, 1906
  • Patella vulgata var. secernenda Dautzenberg, 1887

Patella vulgata, common name the common limpet or common European limpet[2] is an edible species of sea snail with gills, a typical true limpet, a marine gastropod mollusc in the family Patellidae.[1]

This species is found in the waters of western Europe.[3]


The radula in this species is longer than the shell itself. It contains 1,920 teeth in 160 rows of 12 teeth each. It is found attached to firm substrates from the high shore to the edge of the sublittoral zone, although it predominates in areas of wave action. Its shell is conical, up to around 6 cm long, and lacks defined chirality. Common limpets are believed to be able to live for up to twenty years.[4]

Patella vulgata has been the focus of a range of scientific investigation, as far back as 1935.[5] Its development is well described[6] and it has recently been the focus of transcriptomic investigation, providing a range of genomic sequence data in this species for analysis.[7]

Their teeth are the strongest natural material known. A study published in the Royal Society journal in 2015 concluded that "the tensile strength of limpet teeth can reach values significantly higher than spider silk, considered to be currently the strongest biological material, and only comparable to the strongest commercial carbon fibres.” The material was able to withstand 4.9 GPa. This considerable tensile strength of limpet teeth is attributed to a high mineral volume fraction of reinforcing goethite nanofibres.[8][9][10][11][12]

See also


  1. 1 2 Gofas, S. (2014). Patella vulgata Linnaeus, 1758. Accessed through: World Register of Marine Species at on 2014-10-29
  3. Oliver, A.P.H. (2004). Guide to Seashells of the World. Buffalo: Firefly Books. 28.
  4. "Limpets". Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  5. Smith, F (1935). "The Development of Patella vulgata". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences. 225 (520): 95–125. doi:10.1098/rstb.1935.0008.
  6. Damen, Peter; Dictus, Wim J.A.G. "Cell Lineage of the Prototroch of Patella vulgata (Gastropoda, Mollusca)". Developmental Biology. 162 (2): 364–383. doi:10.1006/dbio.1994.1094.
  7. Werner, Gijsbert D. A.; Gemmell, Patrick; Grosser, Stefanie; Hamer, Rebecca; Shimeld, Sebastian M. "Analysis of a deep transcriptome from the mantle tissue of Patella vulgata Linnaeus (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Patellidae) reveals candidate biomineralising genes". Marine Biotechnology. doi:10.1007/s10126-012-9481-0.
  8. Asa H. Barber; Dun Lu & Nicola M. Pugno (2015). Extreme strength observed in limpet teeth. Royal Society journal. doi:10.1098/rsif.2014.1326. Archived from the original on 19 February 2015.
  9. Webb, Jonathan. "Limpet teeth set new strength record" BBC News, 18 February 2015. Archived February 18, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. NBC
  11. BBC Video, explanation
  12. BBC radio interview
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