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Cayenne keyhole limpet, Diodora cayenensis. Photograph Toba Aquarium, Japan.

Species Name: Diodora cayenensis Lamarck, 1822
Common Name: Cayenne Keyhole Limpet
Synonymy: None
  1. TAXONOMY

    Kingdom Phylum/Division Class: Order: Family: Genus:
    Animalia Mollusca Gastropoda Archaeogastropoda Fissurellidae Diodora

    Species Description

    Diodora cayenensis is a member of the family Fissurellidae. Its shell is conically-shaped and well elevated. The top of the shell has an ovate hole in it called the "keyhole" toward the anterior of the animal. D. cayenensis is exposed to air during low tides and therefore needs to draw water into the shell for respiration and excretion which is then expelled through the keyhole. The foot of cayenne keyhole limpet is used to move slowly across rocky surfaces and to create a strong suction to keep waves from washing the animal from the rocks.

    The exterior of the shell is characterized by closely arranged ribs of different sizes. The color of the shell is cream with eight darker radial rings that are usually purple in color. The interior of the shell is glossy white. The animal is white with brown and orange-brown spots that are darkest on the head and tentacles.

  2. HABITAT AND DISTRIBUTION

    Regional Occurrence

    The cayenne keyhole limpet occurs from New Jersey to the West Indies and south to Brazil. Diodora cayenensis is usually found in the intertidal splash zone.

    IRL Distribution

    Diodora cayenensis is found in the Indian River Lagoon.

  3. LIFE HISTORY AND POPULATION BIOLOGY

    No information is available at this time

  4. PHYSICAL TOLERANCES

    No information is available at this time

  5. COMMUNITY ECOLOGY

    Trophic Mode

    Diodora cayenensis uses its radula to scrape algae from rocks. "Teeth" on the radula are continuously being replaced as others are worn down from scraping on the rocks.

  6. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

    No information is available at this time

  7. REFERENCES

    ITIS. Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Available online

    Mitchell PB. Undated. Cayenne Keyhole Limpet species review. Available online.

    Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Undated. Diodora cayenensis data sheet. Available online.

Report by: Melany P. Puglisi, Smithsonian Marine Station
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Page last updated: October 1, 2008

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