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Cellana solida (Family Patellidae)

Orange-edged Limpet


The Orange-edged Limpet occurs in western Victoria, Tasmania and ranges across South Australia as far as the Great Australian Bight. It appears to be most common in eastern South Australia and western Tasmania. (VIC, TAS, SA)


The Orange-edged Limpet is a large, oval-shaped, flattened limpet with a deeply scalloped margin. Its shell may grow to 60-80 mm across. This limpet is strikingly coloured and is distinctive. The shell exterior is dull grey to buff, with reddish brown radial rays and a distinctive orange margin, blotched with reddish brown. It is not as distinctively rayed as the more eastern Variegated Limpet, Cellana tramoserica.

The Orange-edged Limpet has 21 to 37 distinctive, bold radiating ribs, which are coarsely grooved by distinct concentric growth lines. The shell exterior may be very eroded so that it becomes a greyish-coloured shell, with a brown top and a darker brown ring around the base. The protoconch of the low spire is slightly towards the front (anterior) of the shell. It is rounded and usually eroded, with a slightly nacreous sheen.

The interior of the shell is smooth, silvery nacreous, or sometimes bluish-yellow to golden in colour with an orange margin. The spatula is bluish or slate grey with yellow muscle scars. The animal is olive green, with a bluish brown foot and long, speckled, olive coloured tentacles. The head and muzzle are olive green above and flesh coloured elsewhere.

The gills are pale, translucent and narrow. They fringe the mantle all round except for the excretory orifice above the head.

Ecology/Way of Life:

The Orange-edged Limpet is common on rocks on open beaches high above low water mark. There may be some Variegated Limpets, Cellana tramoserica, nearby, but these are usually much smaller than those found in Victoria and south-eastern Australia.

Interaction with Humans/Threats:

The Orange-edged Limpet is common to abundant within a restricted range. It is protected in Tasmania after heavy exploitation as an abalone substitute. On mainland Australia it is unknown what threatens its continued existence.

Further Reading:

Bennett, I. (1987). W.J. Dakin's classic study: Australian Seashores. p.268, Angus & Robertson.

Davey, K. (1988). A Photographic Guide to Seashore Life of Australia. p.80, New Holland Press.

Edgar, G.J. (1997). Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. p.233, Reed.

Macpherson, J.H. & Gabriel, C.J. (1962). Marine Molluscs of Victoria. p.45, Melbourne Univ. Press.

Shepherd, S.A. & Thomas, I.M. (1989). Marine Invertebrates of Southern Australia. pt. II. p.550, South Aust. Govt. Press.

Wilson, B.R. & Gillett, K. (1971). A Field Guide to Australian Shells: Prosobranch Gastropods. p.34, A.H. & A.W. Reed.


Text, map & photograph by Keith Davey.

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