Thursday, April 16, 2009

Life Photo Meme: Hidden

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Mollusca

Class: Gastropoda

Order: Patellogastropoda

Family: Lottiidae

Whenever I am in the intertidal, I love looking for the small hidden things. This is a close up of a limpet, most likely Lottia digitalis, hidden in a gooseneck barnacle cluster. Amazingly, these limpets can change their shell shape and color based on what they are resting on.

Limpets which hang out on gooseneck barnacles get lines on their shells that look like the lines on the barnacle. They also have a higher domed shell. Rock morphs are less patterned with a lower shell. This one does not seem to have too much cryptic coloration, but the shell is really worn. Supposedly, the change between these two morphologies is partly because of the change in algal diets in the two areas [1].

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