In shell-secreting molluscs, age and growth rate of individuals and hence their performance can normally be measured using growth lines that are deposited in the shell throughout their lives. An annual periodicity of growth line formation of the warm-water limpet Patella depressa was established using marked and recaptured individuals from north Wales, UK. Length at age from suitably prepared shell sections was determined in limpets from non-range-edge populations and at two range edges, where different demographic attributes have been recorded. Individuals collected from their poleward range-edge in north Wales were older when compared with individuals at their range-edge in southern England. Shells collected from southern England were characterized by rapid growth with most individuals reaching >30 mm in maximum length by the fourth or fifth year, contrasting with those from north Wales, where most shells only reached this size at 7–10 years of age. Von Bertalanffy growth coefficients (K-values) were negatively related to P. depressa density, showing faster growth in lower total densities of both P. depressa and Patella vulgata combined. Higher intra-specific effects on K-values were found in P. depressa compared with its congener P. vulgata, with stronger effects in north Wales than in southern England. These results confirm differences in population patterns and individual traits between the two leading edges of P. depressa. Understanding annual growth in P. depressa over large scales could help to disentangle the processes determining differences in shell growth and age structure seen at the two range edges of this limpet species.


  • Growth performance, Patella spp, leading edge, range edges, sclerochronology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)707-716
JournalJournal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2021

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