Patella ferruginea is a marine gastropod mollusc, native to the Western Mediterranean, which belongs to the Patellidae family. The shell, ferruginous in colour, is very conspicuous and presents a very characteristic morphology, with a well-marked radial ribbed surface that extends beyond the edge of the shell.

It reaches up to 10 cm in length, only exceeded in the Mediterranean by the Cymbula safiana, a species of Atlantic origin.

The height and width of the shell can vary and can be of the rouxi (taller and more conical) or lamarcki (shorter and flatter) morphology varieties.


This is a long-lived species that grows slowly and does not reach sexual maturity until two or three years.

It is a protandrous hermaphrodite species, meaning first it grows as a male and (from when it reaches some 25 millimetres in length) it becomes a female.

Patella ferruginea inhabits rocky substrates of the eulittoral zone (generally upper levels) and its diet consists principally of cyanobacteria, diatoms and macroscopic algae which it finds in its level of distribution.


The shell can be covered by other species (epizooism) distributed in the same eulittoral zone, from green, brown and red algae to other animals, most commonly the barnacle Chthamalus stellatus which can cover up to 100% of the surface of the shell.

Images Patella ferruginea