Limpets & relatives
Predators & Defenses

The topic of Limpets & relatives: Predators & Defenses is covered in 7 sub-sections:

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Defenses of limpets include attachment strength, shell, escape crawling, camouflage (both visual and chemical), and possibly toxic metabolites. Chief predators are crabs, fishes, and sea stars when the tide is in, and birds and perhaps humans when the tide is out. There is overlap between defenses and predators. For example, attachment strength is useful against predation by both sea stars and birds, and shells provide protection against both crabs and fishes. For this reason, defenses and predators are intermixed in the sections to follow.

NOTE  examination of stomach contents of 13 species of tidepool fishes at Portuguese Bend, California reveals the remains of limpets in only two of the fish species, the spotted kelpfish Gibbonsia elegans and dwarf perch Micrometrus minimus.  Only in the latter is the limpet identified to species (Lottia scabra), suggesting that that shell is still present and, if so, indicating that the perch may have sucked the limpet in rather than crushing its shell, discarding the bits, and then eating the flesh.  Mitchell 1953 Am Midl Nat 49: 862.

NOTE  most or all First Nations Peoples on the west coast have a tradition of eating limpets.  They are easy to harvest and yield a small nugget of flesh that although chewy, is tasty and protein-rich.  The only species currently harvested is the owl limpet Lottia gigantea along the northern coast of Baja California

Mitchell   1953   Am Midl Nat 49: 862