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Slipper limpet

Crepidula fornicata

Crepidula fornicata is an invasive species, which first arrived on UK shores in the late 1880s on oyster shells imported from the East coast of the Americas.

All C. fornicata start life as male and only turn female if they are the first to settle on a rock or other hard substrate. This female then releases pheromones to attract males to settle on top of each other, on top of her, in a chain that is collectively known as a 'bungalow'. The males can then extend their penises down the stack to the female to fertilise the eggs, which are then incubated under the female. When the female on the bottom of the chain dies, the first male (directly on top of the female) will change sex and become the female of the bungalow.

From around 2 years old, the settled limpets can not move and can live between 5 to 10 years.

Fortunately, not many C. fornicata have been observed at West Runton rockpools as yet.

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