Patella is a genus of gastropod mollusks of the Patellidae family
Patella is a genus of gastropod mollusks of the Patellidae family.
Distribution and habitat
The genus is widespread in the Mediterranean, in the Atlantic Ocean and in the Black Sea. Its habitat consists of the rocks of the mesolittoral plane.
They are mollusks endowed with a conical shell, thin, with a roughly oval outline, which adapts itself to the surface to which the animal adheres. The body, formed by a voluminous bag, is equipped with a sturdy foot that adheres to a suction cup on the substrate. Breathing occurs through pseudobranchs placed around the foot. The mouth has a characteristic organ, called radula, which allows them to scratch the algae adheres to the rocks. The lower part of the radula contains a row of teeth, classified as the most resistant biological material known to date (withstand forces from 3.0 to 6.5 GPa). They have a rudimentary eye, formed by a cluster of sensory and pigmented cells immersed in a gelatinous substance.
They live on rocky substrates subject to periodic variations of the tide (intertidal zone). Their foot, firmly adhering to the substrate, retains a sufficient amount of water to prevent dehydration, and allows them to withstand long periods of emersion. Adhesion is also made possible by the secretion of a viscous substance.
They are herbivorous animals that feed on algae.