Lottia instabilis (Gould, 1846)
Common name(s): Unstable limpet, Unstable seaweed limpet, Rocking chair limpet
|Synonyms: Collisella instabilis, Acmaea instabilis|
|A very large Lottia instabilis found at Hobuck Beach, on the open coast near Neah Bay, WA. This shell was empty and washed up on the beach.|
|(Photo by: Dave Cowles, July 2007)|
How to Distinguish from Similar Species:Lottia pelta and Lottia ochracea may live on kelps and be similarly shaped, but Lottia pelta has prominent ribs and Lottia ochracea has a thin, translucent shell with an external checkerboard pattern.
Geographical Range: Kodiak Island, Alaska to San Diego, CA
Depth Range: Intertidal to 73 m
Habitat: On the stipes and holdfasts of kelp
Biology/Natural History: Lives and feeds on kelp stipes and holdfasts, especially on Laminaria setchellii and Pterygophora californica. In cenral CA it lives only on L. dentigera and L. andersonii. This species runs away quickly if it contacts a seastar such as Pisaster ochraceus.
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Brusca and Brusca, 1978 (as Collisella instabilis)
Johnson and Snook, 1955 (As Acmaea instabilis)
Kozloff, 1993 (As Collisella instabilis)
McConnaughey and McConnaughey, 1985 (As Collisella instabilis)
Morris et al., 1980 (as Collisella instabilis)
Phillips, D.W., and P. Castori, 1982. Defensive responses to predatory seastears by two specialist limpets, Notoacmaea insessa (Hinds) and Collisella instabilis (Gould), associated with marine algae. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 59: 23-30
General Notes and Observations: Locations, abundances, unusual behaviors:
|The uneven edges of the shell of Lottia instabilis can easily be seen in this end and side view. The shell is shaped to fit snugly around a round stipe instead of a flat surface.|
This species is said to have a brown blotch inside its shell but the blotch is not evident in this individual. The shell was found empty and the
brown blotch may have weathered away. The anterior end of the shell is to the left.