What is a Limpet?

In early March, PhD student, Andre Ampuero-Leon, presented his research at the Limpets 2024 conference held by The Malacological Society of London. Andre’s research focuses on what may seem like, on the surface, a simple question: “What is a Limpet,” but in reality is much more complicated. Andre is looking at key limpet features like anatomy, shell shape and others to trace the evolution of these (mostly) conical animals across the class of gastropods and beyond. 

His study explores the evolution of limpets within the Gastropoda class, utilizing histology, µCT scanning, and geometric morphometrics. The research focuses on morphological changes and the impact of shell coiling on the internal structure and function. The aim is to reveal the evolutionary pathways of limpets and elucidate the connection between their morphology, function, and environment.

Check out the gallery below for images from Andre’s research!

Andre is exploring many different species of limpets in his research, requiring him to examine many diverse specimens like these. © Andre Ampuero-Leon
This is a limpet specimen from the London Natural History Museum. © Andre Ampuero-Leon
Andre uses techniques like histology – the microscopic study of tissues and organs through sectioning and staining – to track changes in limpet internal structures. © Andre Ampuero-Leon
Andre uses technology like, µCT scanning, to examine the structures of limpets. © Andre Ampuero-Leon