Preliminary observations on factors affecting foraging activity in the limpet patella vulgata

Colin Little, David Morritt, David M. Paterson, Penny Stirling, Gray A. Williams

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29 Citations (Scopus)


Activity patterns of limpets were studied at two adjacent sites in an Irish sea lough, Lough Hyne, in order to relate timing of activity to physical and biological influences. Activity was suppressed during heavy rainfall, and osmotic stress from dilution appears to have led to increased mortality in transplanted limpets. Activity increased as tides progressed from neaps to springs, and for limpets low on the shore it was enhanced by wave action. It is suggested that lack of activity in calm water may reduce predation pressure from crabs, which caused high mortality in transplanted limpets. Either low relative humidity or dryness of the rock diminished activity of low-water limpets. Differences in feeding activity between low-water limpets and high-water limpets may relate to food supply, since more food was available low on the shore, and the guts of low-water limpets contained more diatoms than those of high-water individuals. Differences between the two sites are at present unexplained but may relate to differences in micro-habitats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-195
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1990


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