top of page


Posted: Jul 17 2007

Updated May 19, 2020

How many species of Siphonaria pectinata (Gastropoda: Heterobranchia) are there?

Gonzalo Giribet, Gisele Y. Kawauchi. Feb 2016.  Journal of Molluscan Studies, Vol.82, Issue 1, Pages 137–143.


Siphonaria pectinata (Linnaeus, 1758) has been considered a widespread species with Amphiatlantic distribution or a case of cryptic taxonomy where sibling species exist. We undertook molecular evaluation of 66 specimens from across its putative distribution range. We examined up to three molecular markers (mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I and 16S rRNA, and nuclear internal transcribed spacer-2) of putative S. pectinata, including populations from the Mediterranean Sea, eastern Atlantic (Spain, Canary Islands, Cape Verde Islands, Cameroon and Gabon) and western Atlantic (Florida and Mexico), covering most of the natural range of the species. While little information could be derived from the shell morphology, molecular data clearly distinguished three lineages with no apparent connectivity. These lineages correspond to what we interpret as three species, two suspected from prior work: S. pectinata, restricted to the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean and S. naufragum Stearns, 1872 in Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. A third species has been identified for the Cape Verde Archipelago, for which we use the available name S. placentula Menke, 1853.

So, the Florida species we have all known as S. pectinata has a new name:  S. naufragum Stearns, 1872

Siphonaria naufragum is a pulmonate gastropod that has adopted a lifestyle very similar to that of the Keyhole and True Limpets, and as a result has been referred to as a "false limpet." Siphonaria naufragum is probably the most common shell found on rock groins and jetties all along Florida's east coast. It's low profile and tenacious grip make it almost impossible to remove without damage to the shell. These images of Siphonaria naufragum were taken at Sebastian Inlet, Brevard County, Florida. It can be found both below and above the high water mark. The first photo is of a shell exposed by the minus tide and the second is of a Siphonaria naufragum above the high water mark where it shares its habitat with Echinolittoraria placida Reid, 2009 (formerly E. interrupta).

Siphonaria naufragum.JPG
bottom of page