A Limpet is a Mollusc with a cone shaped shell. You can find limpets on all the rocky
shores of the Marine Reserve. A limpet can clamp down on a rock very tightly using
its large muscular foot. This ensures that the waves don’t knock it off even in the
stormiest conditions. When the tide is out, its large foot forms a seal to make sure
that it does not dry out.
Limpets move about the rocks feeding by using their long, hard, file like tongues
to scrape off tiny plants. You can often see the feeding trail of the
limpets as a zigzag pattern on the rock. After feeding each limpet will return to the
place in the rock where it set out. A limpet can live for many years and it always
returns to the same point. Over the years it makes an oval mark on the rock known as
a ‘home scar’.
Snails are also Molluscs, but with spiral shells, which come in many shapes, sizes
and colours. Many different species of snail are found on the shores of the Marine
Reserve. On the rocky shores you will find some in cracks on the rocks, some under
boulders or in rock pools, and others on seaweed.
When you pick up a shell with a snail inside, it hides by drawing itself into the
shell, closing the entrance with a horned plate. If left along they will come out
of their shells and begin to move about. Similar to limpets, snails have a muscular
foot that they use to glide over the rocks leaving a sticky trail of mucus behind,
which can sometimes be seen.