Homing and "ortsteue" (attachment to place) in Patella L. (Gastropoda, Prosobranchia)

Werner Funke


It is known that numerous gastropods show homing ability. Many limpets return to well defined sites. Patella L. acquires a home spot also on the smooth glass surfaces of aquarium. Before leaving, the limpet scrapes its home, particularly the anterior part of the footprint. After each return it makes characteristic movements with its shell.When homing Patella nearly always retraces its outward track, at least in part; sometimes it reaches its home over the shortest route possible.Site and tracks are marked by chemical substances. The animal orientates itself by contact chemoreception on the track and by distance chemoreception when near its home. Apparently there also exists a kinesthetic mechanism of orientation based on a measurement of distance on the outward journey.At the home spot Patella always manoeuveres exactly into the same position. Often it has to turn or to glide around slightly. It finally settles down with small movements of its shell.The footprint shows chemical differences in a wide marginal zone. Probably, different chemoreceptors on the sole of the foot are associated to the various regions of the footprint.The chemical differentiation of the footprint has the same orientation-value for all individuals of the...Continue Reading


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