Juan de Fuca Limpet

Juan de Fuca Limpet (Lepetodrilus fucensis)

Limpets on Escargot vent, Axial Seamount. Here, the limpet shells have been stained brown by hydrothermal deposits.

Limpets are a group of marine snails, members of Class Gastropoda. Lepetodrilus fucensis, often referred to as the Juan de Fuca Limpet is the common limpet found on Axial Seamount, and it is the most abundant macrofaunal organism found on Axial’s hydrothermal vents. However, due to their small size (~10 mm) these limpets rank third in terms of Axial’s biomass. They are most abundant on sulfide chimneys, and are often attached to the abundant tube worms. They are also found occasionally on basalt lava surfaces.

This limpet species has multiple feeding strategies: grazing, suspension feeding, and obtaining organic material from endosymbiotic bacteria. It is common to see many specimens vertically stacked on one another, allowing them better ability to suspension feed. This stacking characteristic makes them good competitors for space on a vent. They appear to have no major predator at Axial Seamount.

Tunnicliffe, Verena, and Maia Tsurumi. "Tubeworm-associated communities at hydrothermal vents on the Juan de Fuca Ridge, northeast Pacific." Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers: 611-629.