Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Moustache!

And it's a Genghis Khan 'stache, worn with a goatee, to boot!

See:

Limpet eating algae in the aquarium.

Seriously, though, if you look closely, you can see the scraping "teeth" on the radula. Here's the photo, cropped and saturated:

The radula is like a conveyor belt with sharp cutting blades.

Limpets use a radula  to scrape algae from rocks.  The radula consists of evenly spaced horizontal rows of cusps or teeth on a supporting ribbon, each row comprising 2-6 cusps. Rows in some species number up to 200 or more.
From Limpets and Relatives, by Tom Carefoot, UBC.


Much like a tongue, the radula rolls outward, then is brought back with its load of algae, which then passes into the esophagus.

Cross-section of a limpet mouth. (Limpets and Relatives)

Sometimes, when the light is right, I can see tiny trails on the inside of the glass wall of the aquarium; limpet trails, where they've cleaned off the algae. They remind me of the snail trails in the algae on my old fence.

Snails are bigger, and hungrier; their trails are easy to see.



3 comments:

  1. I've wondered how a limpet moves from one piece of glass to another with a flattened shell. Or maybe they dont? Post a photo of that if you ever see that happen!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Tim, they do, and I've watched them. I never thought to take a photo. I'll do that next time.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That's pretty cool. I remember learning about the radula in a marine biology class, but seeing it in this detail is great!

    ReplyDelete

If your comment is on a post older than a week, it will be held for moderation. Sorry about that, but spammers seem to love old posts!

Also, I have word verification on, because I found out that not only do I get spam without it, but it gets passed on to anyone commenting in that thread. Not cool!