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Scutellastra chapmani (Family Patellidae)

Chapman's Limpet



Chapman's Limpet has an unusual southern Australian distribution. It is found on most shores of NSW, SA, and Tas, extending to Dongarra WA, but is uncommon in Vic. (NSW, SA, TAS, WA)


Chapman's limpet has a distinctive shell with eight radiating ribs. It grows to a shell length of 30mm and a width of 15-20mm. The shell is roughly oval and is broader at the rear than it is at the front. The shell has a pointed apex. Rough surf examples have very distinct ribs and a very irregular margin so that they have a star-like appearance. Specimens from more sheltered locations have indistinct ribs and are more oval in outline. The shell is marked with very fine radiating lines. The shell colour is reddish or scorched brown, while the interior is white with a pink tint.

Ecology/Way of Life:

Chapman's Limpet occurs at the very lowest tide levels and below on rocky ocean shores on offshore reefs and is not often found alive by a shore explorer. It is a herbivore or algae feeder. This species must be very common on ocean rocky offshore reefs because its shells are very frequently washed up on beaches.

Preferred Image

Interaction with Humans/Threats:

This species appears to be common just below low tide level. It does not appear to be under threat of human influence.

Other Comments:

Scutellastra chapmani, Tenison Woods (1876). The variations of this species have been given a number of scientific names. This species is also known as Helcion chapmani, Patella chapmani and Patellanax chapmani. It was originally given the name Patella octoradiata, Hutton, 1873, which excellently describes its form, but this name was preoccupied. Other synonyms are Patella perplexa, Pilsbry, 1891, and Patella alba, Tennison Woods, 1876. The word Scutellastrea is made up of the Latin words scutella, meaning a tray or platter, (sometimes confused in the scientific use of scutum, meaning a shield) and astra that comes from astralis or astrum, meaning a star.

Further Reading:

Bennett, I. (1987). W. J. Dakin's classic study: Australian Seashores: a guide to the temperate shores for the beach-lover, the naturalist, the shore-fisherman and the student. p.269, Angus & Robertson. (As Patella chapmani).

Davey, K. (1998) A Photographic Guide to Seashore Life of Australia. p.78, New Holland Press, Sydney. (As Helcion chapmani).

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

Jansen, P. (2000), Seashells of South-East Australia. p.10, Capricornia Publications.

Macpherson, J.H. & Gabriel, C.J. (1962). Marine Molluscs of Victoria. p.45, Melbourne University Press. (As Patellanax chapmani).

Wells, F.E. & Bryce, C.W. (1988). Seashells of Western Australia. p.38, Western Australian Museum. (As Patella champani).


Text, map & photograph by Keith Davey.

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Images and Multi-media:  
Attached Image  
image/jpeg 23103 bytes Chapman's Limpet
Distribution Map  
image/gif 954 bytes Distribution of Chapman's Limpet

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