23rd July

Blue rayed limpet nursery found in unusual location

German university students studying fossil-rich rocks, seaweed diversity and honeycomb reefs on Waterford estuary coast accidentally stumbled upon tiny blue rayed limpets on a sea spaghetti (Himanthalia elongata) frond. This uncommon limpet confined to the outer edge of Europe is usually found on the base of kelp.

Blue rayed limpet

Blue rayed limpet found on long sea spaghetti (Himanthalia elongata)

"We usually find adults dug into the kelp," explained Karin Dubsky Coastwatch coordinator. "They are delicate fingernail-sized animals with beautiful fluorescent dots set in lines on their shell.

The students found lots of them on the underside of the seaweed but on no other adjacent seaweed variety examined.

"The question is, why are they on sea spaghetti, and how and when do they jump over to big kelp?. A quick check on the web did not reveal the answer; mayby seaweed harvesters on the west coast might know?" she said.

If you any information, contact Karin Dubsky on 086 8111684 | www.coastwatch.org

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