Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Mollusca
Class Gasteropoda
Order Archaeogastropoda
Family Patellidae
Genus Patella
Species coerulea
Classification Linnaeus,1758
Common name patella

Geographic Range Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, Aegean Sea.
Physical Characteristics it's a very well known mollusc, above all because it's very easy to observe it on rocks left uncovered by low tide. It has a conical and thin shell, more or less elevated, the outline is oval. The edge is thin and it fits to the surface which the animal sticks to. The external part is yellowish grey or reddish. The internal part of the shell is bright, sometimes bluish where the foot muscles clings. Foot is rounded and wide, and thanks to it the animal can stick to the substratum. Inside there is a white area, follwed by a little darker one. Almost all the shell is occupied by the muscular foot that acts as a sucker. It stays fixed to the rock even for a long period.
Behaviour it lives on periodically submerged surfaces, and it can stand long periods of emersion thanks to its foot, that sticks strongly to the substratum, isolating hermetically the animal. In this way it is able to hold a certain quantity of water that is enough to prevent the animal from dehydrate. Sticking to the substratum is possible thanks also to the secretion of a viscous substance. Reproduction takes place in spring, with the emission of eggs and sperms. Fertilization takes place in the water.
Habitat it lives on hard substrata in the mesolittoral level.
Food habits it's an herbivorous mollusc, it lives on seaweeds that cover the surface on which it lives.

References Progetto Mare - ARPA Emilia Romagna
Web references http://www.arpa.emr.it/daphne/progetto_mare/index.htm
Source of the photo http://www.thais.it/conchiglie/mediterraneo/schede/sc_00014.htm

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