What do Limpets Eat? (Are they herbivores or omnivores?)

Limpets are small marine creatures that live on the shores of oceans and feed on algae. They are a type of sea snail that has a conical shell. They are found in all the world’s oceans. Limpets attach themselves to rocks in the intertidal zone and graze on algae.

Limpets are herbivores that graze on algae growing on rocks. They use their radula (a tongue-like structure) to scrape off the algae, which they then eat. This grazing helps to keep the rocks clean and prevents them from being covered in algae.

Limpets are herbivorous molluscs that are found in many different parts of the world.

Limpets are important because they are one of the first species that colonise a new habitat, and they can be very successful! Limpets are also important for their role in the food chain, as they are primary consumers of algae.

Limpets are an important food source for many animals, including birds, fish and other predators. They are also harvested by humans for food and as bait for fishing.

Habitat and Primary Diet of Limpets

Limpets live attached to hard surfaces including rocks, shells, and ship hulls. They can be found attached to rocky shorelines and boulders in shallow waters.

Limpets are often found in areas with lots of algae and kelp, which is a type of seaweed.

Limpets almost only eat algae. Algae are photosynthetic organisms that make their own food from sunlight and carbon dioxide.

Algae are a type of plant or microorganism and are important primary producers in marine habitats because they are consumed by so many different kinds of animals – including limpets!

Limpets may also occasionally eat other organisms on the surface where they attach – including bacteria and barnacles! However, these make up only a small fraction of their overall diet.

How do limpets eat?

Limpets attach themselves to rocks, shells, and ship hulls. They graze on the algae and kelp that grow on the hard surfaces by scraping the food with their radula, which is a tongue-like organ. The same type of organ found in an octopus! Limpets then digest the food by secreting enzymes.

Are Limpets Carnivores, Herbivores or Omnivores?

Limpets are herbivores because they eat algae and plants. Limpets do not have a stomach, but take in water through their mouths and filter out the nutrients they need.

They may occasionally eat a barnacle or two, which can classify them as omnivores but they are primarily herbivores.

Is a Limpet a Producer, Consumer or Decomposer?

Limpets are consumers because they eat other living things. Limpets are herbivores, which means that they mostly eat algae and plants. Only plants as well as some bacteria and protozoa are producers.

What Type of Consumer is a Limpet?

Limpets are considered primary consumers although they also sometimes eat barnacles. Generally, herbivores are primary consumers, omnivores secondary consumers and carnivores are tertiary consumers.

Can Limpets be Considered Decomposers?

No. Limpets do not eat dead or decaying matter and are therefore not decomposers.

Although they are not considered true decomposers, they play an important role in the ecosystem by consuming algae and providing a food source for other animals.

The bacteria in the gut of the limpet play a very important role for their digestion and these microorganisms may be considered true decomposers.

Where are Limpets in the Food Chain?

Limpets are primarily herbivores and sit just above plants in the food chain. They are primary consumers that belong to the 2nd tropic level.

Just as other snails, limpets span two trophic levels of the food pyramid.

However, as other snails, they also sometimes (mistakenly?) eat other animals such as barnacles if they are in the way!

Is a Limpet an Autotroph or a Heterotroph?

Limpets are heterotrophs because they eat other living organisms. Practically no animals are autotrophic because animals do not get their energy directly from the sun like plants do.

That is, animals like the limpet cannot make their own energy, but need to eat other organisms as their energy and carbon source.

What Animals Prey on Limpets?

Animals that eat limpets are crabs, some fish, lobsters, snails and starfish. These animals will hunt for and eat limpets and other snails in the wild.


In this blog post I have looked into the diet of the limpet and how it feeds on algae! I have also looked into the habitat of the limpet and how it lives in rocky shores in the intertidal zone.

The algae that limpets eat are often found in the intertidal zone or on rocky shores, and the algae are important for the limpet. Whereas, the algae provide the limpet with a food source, ironically, the limpet provides the algae with a habitat as they also grow on the shell of the limpet! And sometimes limpets even eat these algae off of each other (see the video)!

See how limpets eat!

Limpets are very important for the development of new habitats and the limpet’s role in the food chain is also important for the development of new species.

You can find limpet shells in the fossil record, which shows that they have been around for a long time. Limpets are also an important part of our history and culture.

The oldest known limpet fossil was found in the United Kingdom and has been dated to about 400 million years ago!

Limpets are probably the most interesting molluscs and I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post!

Limpet diet FAQs

I have tried to answers some of the most common questions I get about the limpet diet here.

Do limpets eat seaweed?

Yes, limpets are known to graze on a variety of macroalgae including kelp, sea lettuce, and Gracilaria spp. They use their radula (tongue) to scrape algae off of rocks.

Do limpets eat mussels?

No, limpets do not eat mussels. Mussels are a type of bivalve mollusc that filter feed on phytoplankton and other microscopic organisms similar to what limpets do. Limpets and mussels can only eat microscopic particles as they do not have the size and digestive mechanisms to eat larger animals.

Do limpets eat phytoplankton?

Yes, as mentioned above, limpets graze on a variety of macroalgae which includes phytoplankton. Phytoplankton are single-celled or multi-celled algae that float in the water column and are the primary producers in the marine food web.

Do limpets eat diatoms?

Yes, diatoms are a type of phytoplankton that limpets graze on. Diatoms are single-celled algae that have silica shells. They are an important part of the marine food web because they provide food for many animals including fish, whales, and other invertebrates.

Do limpets eat seagrass?

Yes, limpets are known to graze on seagrass. They use their radula (a tongue-like structure) to scrape off the surface of the seagrass blades and consume the tissue.

Do limpets eat sea lettuce?

Yes, limpets are known to graze on sea lettuce as well as other seaweeds.

Do limpets eat corals?

No, limpets do not eat corals. Corals are only eaten by fish and other marine invertebrates, and they are not found in the same habitats as limpets.

Do limpets eat fish?

No, limpets do not eat fish. Fish are only eaten by other fish and marine invertebrates, and they are not found in the same habitats as limpets.  However, some larger species of limpet can accidentally trap small fish in their shell when they close it shut for protection. In these cases, the limpet will either ignore the trapped fish or slowly consume it over time as it decomposes.

 Do limpets eat jellyfish?

No, jellyfish are not eaten by limpets as they usually do not get near each other.