Behavior

Most patellogastropods are dioecious, although both simultaneous and protandric hermaphroditism are present in the taxon. Protandry is often correlated with territorial species. Because most patellogastropods discharge their gametes directly into the sea where fertilization and development take place, there is no courtship or mating between individual limpets.

Territoriality has independently evolved at least three times in the Patellogastropoda; the most famous example being the territorial Patellidae of South Africa. Territoriality is typically associated with specific food reserves, and limpets become highly aggressive by using their shells as battering rams to drive both conspecifics and other herbivorous species from their territory. Territorial species are often larger than related non-territorial species, and many territorial species are also protandric hermaphrodites—beginning life as males before becoming females—often upon the acquisition of a feeding territory.

Activity patterns of patellogastropods are often complicated. At high tide, moving limpets are susceptible to aquatic predators such as fish and crabs. At low tide, species are especially vulnerable to shore birds and foraging mammals. Moreover, low tide also places intertidal patellogastropods under physiological stress due to the effects of drying. Many species are most active at night during low tide when visual predation is less effective. Migratory movements of patel-logastropods are limited to a general up-shore pattern, with recruitment ocurring in the lower intertidal and later movement leading to life in higher intertidal zones.

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