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Notoacmea mayi (Family Acmaeidae)

May's Beetle Limpet


May's Beetle Limpet ranges from western Victoria, where it is common, to eastern South Australia and around Tasmania (VIC, TAS, SA).


May's Beetle Limpet is a very distinctive small limpet because of the extreme forward position of the shell apex and the lack of shell markings. Its grows to a length of 10-15 mm, a width of 21 mm, and height of 8 mm. This is an unusual limpet with the shell apex reaching or extending past the front edge of the shell. The shell is small, oval and flattened. The shell surface is smooth and not sculptured.

The shell colour is variable, ranging from light brown to grey, mottled with darker browns or greys. Sometimes it is heavily eroded so that it is much lighter in colour. The interior of the shell is also variable in colour that may range from chestnut to dark brown with a black spatula. The interior shell margin is spotted with black and yellow.

Ecology/Way of Life:

May's Beetle Limpet often occurs grouped together on a vertical rock face up to high tide level. The forward apex and lack of shell markings makes this a very distinctive small limpet.

Interaction with Humans/Threats:

Like other limpets, such as the Tall Limpet, Notoacmea alta, the Granulated Limpet, Collisella mixta, and the Orange-edged Limpet, Cellana solida, this species has a very restricted range extending from western Victoria, around Tasmania, across to Spencer's Gulf in South Australia. If there was a significant oil spill in the region, all these limpet species could be threatened.

Further Reading:

Bennett, I. (1987). W.J. Dakin's classic study: Australian Seashores. p.269-70, Angus & Robertson.

Davey, K. (1988). A Photographic Guide to Seashore Life of Australia. p.84, New Holland Press.

Edgar, G.J. (1997). Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. p.236, Reed.

Macpherson, J.H. & Gabriel, C.J. (1962). Marine Molluscs of Victoria. p.53, Melbourne Univ. Press.

Marine Research Group of Victoria. (1984). Coastal Invertebrates of Victoria: an atlas of selected species. p.32, Museum of Victoria.

Ponder, W.F. & Creese, R.G. (1980) A revision of the Australian species of Notoacmea, Collisella and Patelloida. J. Malac. Soc. Aust. 4(4), 167-208.

Shepherd, S.A. & Thomas, I.M. (1989). Marine Invertebrates of Southern Australia. pt. II. p.547, South Aust. Govt. Press.


Text, map & photograph by Keith Davey.

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