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The Humble Limpet

The Humble Limpet

The humble Limpet is such a ubiquitous feature of childhood visits to the seaside it’s easy to forget they are indeed animals and not a crusty excrescence of the rock on which they live


Photograph by Jan Holm, taken on Ord Beach, Skye

Yet like many small, overlooked creatures their life cycle and biology is remarkable.  They have amazing adhesive powers (as anyone who has tried to remove a limpet from a rock will have discovered), they can change sex, they can fight and flee from predators and their teeth are made from one of the strongest materials known in nature

Limpets are gastropods, like slugs and snails, ad we have three species in the UK – the Common, the China and the Black-footed Limpet.  The Common and the China mature as males before subsequently changing to female – although some choose to remain male throughout their lives.  Only the Black-footed seems happy to remain in whatever gender it has been designated at birth

Home for a limpet is the ‘scar’ on the surface of a rock, made by grinding the surface to fit neatly around its shell.  Limpets leave their ‘home-scar’ regularly to go on foraging excursions, feeding on seaweeds such bladder wrack.  Their contribution to our natural environment cannot be underestimated.  Without a healthy population of limpets, rocky seashores would gradually be smothered by seaweeds.  Limpets are sensitive to marine pollution and are indicators that seawater is in a healthy state.  Recently they have also been the target of foraging on a commercial scale.  So if you see limpets on the menu check that they have been foraged within ethical guidelines

Susannah Garland

We make and source beautiful things from natural materials

We are specialists in hand made Leather goods including studded Dog Collars and wallets from 200 year old Russian Reindeer Leather; offering for sale a range of ethical tailored Clothing and wool knitwear and a collection of useful but beautiful Homeware made from HornLeatherWool: old and new Welsh blankets and textiles; Slate and Wood . As well as an eclectic selection of one-off collectibles in our Originals section

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