Blue-rayed limpet

Scientific name: Patella pellucida
The kingfisher blue stripes of a Blue-rayed limpet are a magical sight whilst rockpooling - you'll need to go on a very low tide though as their favourite home is on kelp.

Species information

Statistics

Length: Up to 2cm

Conservation status

Common

When to see

January to December

About

The Blue-Rayed limpet is found on kelp (a kind of seaweed) that lives right at the bottom of the shoreline as it doesn't like to be exposed for long at low tide. In order to spot Blue-Rayed limpets when rockpooling, you'll need to go on a very low tide - but keep a close eye on tide times so you don't get caught out. Blue-Rayed Limpets feed on the kelp itself, creating a little pit on the kelp frond as they munch away.

How to identify

A small oval shell, no more than 2cm in length. Translucent and brown-ish in colour but with 2-8 distinctive dashed kingfisher blue lines. The lines are absent in juveniles (under 1cm). Only found on kelp on the very low shore and only uncovered on low tides. Can be seen when snorkelling or diving.

Distribution

Found on low tides on rocky shores around the UK and out to 25m deep. Absent from East Coast south of the Humber Estuary.

Did you know?

Blue-Rayed limpets move down the Kelp in autumn to avoid being cast adrift if the kelp frond is damaged or lost in rough winter seas.

How people can help

When rockpooling, be careful to leave everything as you found it - replace any rocks you turn over, put back any crabs or fish and ensure not to scrape anything off its rocky home. If you want to learn more about our rockpool life, Wildlife Trusts around the UK run rockpool safaris and offer Shoresearch training - teaching you to survey your local rocky shore. The data collected is then used to protect our coasts and seas through better management or through the designation of Marine Protected Areas. The Wildlife Trusts are working with sea users, scientists, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas', where marine wildlife thrives. Do your bit for our Living Seas by supporting your local Wildlife Trust or checking out our Action Pages.