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Family  Phenacolepadidae

Sugar limpets




The sugar limpets are one of several families of gastropods that have independently evolved the limpet shell shape. In anatomical structure they are well removed from the true limpets such as the families Patellidae and Lotiidae, but their shells are similar in external form. Their closest relatives in anatomical structure are the nerites; - they are essentially nerites with the last whorl expanded and uncoiled - but the difference in structure is seen in the internal horse-shoe shaped muscle scar, which opens anteriorly in this group. The shells are generally white, with granulose ribbing, hence the common name of sugar limpets.

Only one species occurs in NSW. Other species occur in the Indo-West Pacific, including northern Australia.

Family references:

There is no consolidated reference to the family.


The only species which occurs in NSW is treated here.

Identification Notes

Shells in this family are limpet shaped, with the apex near the rear margin. They have no slit or groove in the margin as in the Fissurellidae. There is a muscle scar internally that opens anteriorly.

Copyright Des Beechey 2005