Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Where there's a will ...

A month ago, Tim asked, "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!"

They do, and I'd seen it often. So I've been watching all month, and never caught even one near a corner. Contrary beasties!

But I did find one making its way over a bumpy snail shell, demonstrating the cornering technique on a gentler angle.

Limpet on trophon snail

The shell lifts up to straddle the gap, and the soft body slides, sluglike, from one pane of glass to the next. Or from a stone to a snail shell or to a waving blade of eelgrass.

The limpet is not really glued to the surface, unless he wants to be; then he's almost impossible to remove. I can slide one along wet glass with a fingertip, but if there's any roughness on the surface, he's stuck fast.


  1. Ahhh...going over a convex surface, I can imagine. Being able to lift the front of the shell enough to reach the foot forward towards a 90 degree plane of glass would take more dexterity than I would think a limpet capable of mustering. I believe you when you say it happens...but I would expect that it is more likely to glide to the sand, cross the sand, and up another pane of glass where the angle of incidence is lower.

  2. I'll keep on watching. I'll get you a photo of the 90 degree move eventually.

    The first time I saw it, I thought it was impossible, but there it was.


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