A Beginner's Guide to Shells

Are you a seashell novice? Use our helpful guide to figure out what you've found.

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Limpets & Keyhole Limpets
Photographer: Jean Allsopp

Limpets & Keyhole Limpets

  • Approximately 35 species of Limpets live in North American waters.
  • Conical shells may be smooth or ribbed, round or narrow at the base, and may reach 4 inches in diameter.
  • Limpets living in turbulent wave areas have lower shell heights than those in calmer conditions. Limpets living among grasses have longer, narrower shells.
  • Keyhole limpets have a hole or slit near the apex of their conical shell that sets them apart from true limpets.

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