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Clypidina rugosa (Family Fissurellidae)

Rugose Slit Limpet


Ranges from southern Queensland, through New South Wales, Victoria, and around Tasmania, across South Australia to southern Western Australia. In the western part of the range examples of the Rugose Slit Limpet are more heavily ribbed (QLD, NSW, VIC, TAS, SA, WA).


The Rugose Slit Limpet has a small shell that is oval and cone-shaped. Its apex is near the centre, leaning towards the front. It is sculptured with 12 to 15 strong radial ribs, with 2 or 3 smaller ribs between the larger ribs. Concentric ridges that create a granular appearance cross these. The shell margin is finely notched. The shell interior is smooth, except for a distinct groove from the apex to a notch at the hind end of the shell. Its distinctive ribs, granular structure and the small hind slit easily identify this shell. The shell colour is greyish-brown, becoming white in worn, eroded specimens. The shell interior is white, sometimes with a green sheen. The muscle-scar is outlined with olive-green.

Ecology/Way of Life:

The Rugose Slit Limpet occurs on rocky shores from low on the shore up to high-tide levels. They are often found associated with Galeolaria, or mussels. In New South Wales the long breeding season extends from October/November until May over the summer and autumn period. The species appears to live for about three years (Creese, 1981). The Rugose Slit Limpet is so limpet-like in form that it is the only common member of the fissurellid group that might be mistaken for a true limpet. It is sometimes a host for the Tall Limpet, Notoacmea alta.

Further Reading:

Bennett, I. (1987). W.J. Dakin's classic study: Australian Seashores. p.272, Angus & Robertson.

Creese, R.G. (1981) Patterns of growth, longevity and recruitment of intertidal limpets in New South Wales. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 51, 145-171.

Davey, K. (1988). A Photographic Guide to Seashore Life of Australia. p.77, New Holland Press.

Edgar, G.J. (1997). Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. p.232, Reed.

Macpherson, J.H. & Gabriel, C.J. (1962). Marine Molluscs of Victoria. p.37, Melbourne Univ. Press. (as Montfortula rugosa).

Marine Research Group of Victoria. (1984). Coastal Invertebrates of Victoria: an atlas of selected species. p.27, Museum of Victoria.

Shepherd, S.A. & Thomas, I.M. (1989). Marine Invertebrates of Southern Australia. pt. II. p.542, South Aust. Govt. Press.


Text, map & photograph by Keith Davey.

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