The species was widely found across the Western Mediterranean during the Pleistocene and its abundant presence was recorded along the coasts of North Africa and Europe up until the 19th century. But the beginning of the 20th century saw the beginning of a sharp decline for the species. Today, the species has almost completely disappeared from European coastlines.
Its presence has been registered in the south of Spain, mostly in the Bay of Algeciras and the external pier of the Port of Motril although small populations exist in other enclaves along the Andalusian coast.
It can also be found on the coasts of the Island of Alborán, the northern and western coast of Corsica, Sardinia, the Islands of Pantelleria and Egadi, and Tuscany.
In any case, the most significant populations currently can be found along the North African coast, particularly the coasts of Ceuta and Melilla, the Chafarinas Islands, the Algerian Islands of Rachgoun and Habibas reaching Cape Bon and the Island of Zembra (Tunisia).
On the coast of the Autonomous City of Melilla there exists an important population of Patella ferruginea, one of the largest not only in Spain but in the world, which due to its density and distribution of sizes (and, therefore, sexes) must be considered, without any doubt, a “normal” or reproductive population.