Present status of the endangered limpet Cymbula nigra (Gastropoda, Patellidae) in Ceuta: how do substrate heterogeneity and area accessibility affect population structure?

Rivera–Ingraham, G. A.  Espinosa, F.  García–Gómez, J. C. 


Cymbula nigra (Gastropoda, Patellidae) is a threatened giant patellid limpet found on the North African coast from Namibia to Algeria. The objective of this study was to estimate the total number of individuals present in Ceuta (Strait of Gibraltar) and to determine the effect of certain physical parameters on population structure and abundance. Between 2006 and 2010 we conducted an exhaustive census in the area. Results indicate that Ceuta could be home to 48,473 individuals. The most important populations were recorded on the North Bay, characterized by its Atlantic influence. While for other similar species, such as Patella ferruginea, human accessibility to the area plays an important role in determining the structure of populations, we found that substrate roughness (small scale topographic heterogeneity) is the main determining factor in this species. Populations located on medium to low topographic heterogeneity substrates showed higher percentages of medium and large size individuals. However, recruitment rates did not differ between substrata of different roughness. Finally, and through the analysis of the C. nigra populations located on some recently constructed jetties, we obtained interesting new data regarding individual growth rates, thus contributing to our knowledge of the population structure of the species.

Key words

Limpet, Endangered species, Cymbula nigra, Substrate heterogeneity, Strait of Gibraltar, Ceuta

Publication date: 34.2

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Índex de Volume 34.2 (2011)