Weymouth is famous for its fantastic clean sandy beach. However, patches of fine shingle with gravel-sized pebbles and stones do occur here and there. It was on shingle like this that I found masses of empty Slipper Limpet shells – Crepidula fornicata (Linnaeus) – last weekend.
This type of gastropod mollusc shell seems to be the single species most likely to be found on Weymouth beach at any time of year. They get the name from their strange shape which looks a bit like a shoe or slipper. They breed very successfully in our coastal waters although they are an introduced species to the British Isles. Their presence can affect populations of our native filter-feeding mollusc species like mussels and oysters. When Slipper Limpets settle in vast numbers on other living shellfish, the huge amount of waste matter they generate can coat and suffocate the other animals beneath them, and foul hard substrates so that larvae cannot settle there.
I have talked about Slipper Limpets in previous postings – so click here if you want to see more pictures and information about Slipper Limpets on Jessica’s Nature Blog.
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