Hidden BRITAIN
BBC Wildlife|March 2021
BLUE-RAYED LIMPET
NICK BAKER
Beachcombing is one of life’s great pleasures – you never quite know what you might find. One creature always worth looking out for is the diminutive blue-rayed limpet, Patella pellucida. Very different to its more familiar conical cousins in rockpools, it lacks spherical symmetry and is more delicate, with an almost translucent shell reminiscent of a little fingernail in size and shape.

Like its relatives, the bluerayed limpet is also an algae grazer, but it specialises in the big stuff: kelp. For most of the tidal cycle, this impressive seaweed and its limpet predator are submerged, so beyond the reach of rockpools. However, kelp may be cast ashore after a storm, and then you can find this beautiful mollusc among the tangled creases and root-like holdfasts or haptera.

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