Limpet, Fauna in Co. Mayo

The Limpet is an aquatic snail with a grey, brown and white conical shaped shell. Its size can be up to 7cm long and can live for 10-20 years.

It can be found on hard surface such as rocks, stones, boat hulls and piers. It clings tightly on the surface on which it lives.

It is very difficult to remove a limpet from a rock and the slightest touch tightens its grip using its muscular foot and the adhesive mucus it produces. Its teeth are very strong more than spider silk. The tensile strength of the teeth is attributed to a high mineral volume fraction of reinforcing goethite and makes them the strongest known biological material.

When the tide is up, it grazes seaweeds with a radula and can move travelling for one meter or two. It returns back to the same spot following its mucus trail left behind. People have eaten limpets for 1000s of years, but they are very hard to chew.

Its name is Patella vulgata and in Irish it is called Bairneach.