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Limpets, single shell mollusks, are also commonly known as sea snails.
Unlike the snail's traditional coiled shell, limpets have a flat or conical shaped shell that protects them as they cling to rocks while grazing on algae and other plant life.
A limpet's shell type commonly serves as a categorizing tool.
The Owl Limpet shown in the top picture, has a conical, brown mottled shell without any holes on the top. Limpets in this category are commonly called true limpets.
Reaching four inches in diameter, owl limpets rank among the largest limpets on the West Coast of the United States.
The picture immediately above shows a Volcano Limpet (Fissurella volcano).
The shell resembles a volcano with a hole in the top. All keyhole limpet shells have holes on the top that are used for waste disposal.
Most, but not all, limpets prefer a rocky intertidal zone habitat. Consequently, more limpet species are found along the West Coast rather than the East Coast of the United States. However, the East Coast is home to a few common species such as the tortoise-shell limpet and, slipper limpet.
In some areas of the world, Limpets are considered a culinary delicacy.
© 2008 Patricia A. Michaels