Reproduction and nutritional values of the edible limpet Nacella magellanica (Gastropoda: Patellogastropoda)




marine gastropods, fishery resources, biochemical composition, reproduction, limpets


Nacella magellanica is an edible limpet that has been consumed since pre-Hispanic times by human populations along the coasts of Patagonia, but studies of its nutritional value and reproduction are not yet available. We investigated the reproductive cycle and the seasonal variation in the nutritional composition (proteins, lipids and carbohydrates) of the whole body of this limpet in order to analyse some aspects of its importance as a formal fishery resource. Throughout a single year, the spawning period extended over all months except June in males, while females spawned from late winter to spring, with an increase from August to November. The nutritional data obtained for N. magellanica are within the ranges of widely consumed species of molluscs, with annual average values of 29.8% proteins, 2.7% lipids and 1.8% carbohydrates. The best nutritional values for human consumption (highest concentration of proteins, body weight), avoiding the reproductive period, were found in April but taking into account the minimum size of capture. Our results are useful for increasing the policies aimed at managing this abundant edible limpet as a formal resource, since it is widely consumed in southern South America.


Download data is not yet available.


Aji L.P. 2011. Spawning Induction in Bivalve. J. Pen. Sains 14: 2. Anderson W.A., Personne P. 1970. The localization of glycogen in the spermatozoa of various invertebrate and vertebrate species. J. Cell. Biol. 44: 29-51. PMid:5409463 PMCid:PMC2107773

Averbuj A., Bigatti G., Penchaszadeh P.E. 2010. Gametogenic cycle and size at first maturity of the patagonic edible snail Buccinanops cochlidium from Argentina. Mar. Biol. 157: 2229-2240.

Bagnato E., Gilardoni C., Di Giorgio G., et al. 2015. A checklist of marine larval trematodes (Digenea) in molluscs from Argentina, Southwestern Atlantic coast. Check List 11: 1706.

Barber B.J., Blake N.J. 1981. Energy storage and utilization in relation to gametogenesis in Argopecten irradians concentricus (Say). J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 52: 121-134.

Bigatti G., Ciocco N.F. 2008. Volutid snails as an alternative resource for artisanal fisheries in northern Patagonic gulfs. Availability and first suggestions for diving catches. J. Shellfish. Res. 27: 417-421.[417:VSAAAR]2.0.CO;2

Bigatti G., Marzinelli E.M., Penchaszadeh P.E. 2008. Seasonal reproduction and sexual maturity of Odontocymbiola magellanica (Neogastropoda: Volutidae). Invertebr. Biol. 127: 314-326.

Bigatti G., Cumplido M., Averbuj A. 2015. Gasterópodos de interés comercial en la Provincia del Chubut. LAPEMAR, Laboratorio de Peces y Mariscos de Interés Comercial (CENPAT). Report Lapemar 31.

Bigatti G., De Vivar M. D., Cumplido M., et al. 2017. Fatty acids and contaminants in edible marine gastropods from Patagonia. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K. 98: 1355-1363.

Branch G. 1975. Mechanisms reducing intraspecific competition in Patella spp.: migration, differentiation and territorial behavior. J. Anim. Ecol. 44: 575-600.

Castilla J.C. 1999. Coastal marine communities: trends and perspectives from human-exclusion experiments. Trends. Ecol. Evol. 14: 280-283.

Clarke A. 1992. Reproduction in the cold: Thorson revisited. Invertebr. Reprod. Dev. 22: 175-184.

Collin R. 2003. Worldwide patterns in mode of development in Calyptraeid gastropods. Mar. Ecol Prog. Ser. 247: 103-122.

Congjie D., Jianfeng H., Guizhong W., et al. 2005. Evaluation on nutritional composition of the soft part in Nacella concinna of great wall bay, Antarctica. Chin. J. Pol. Res. 17: 279-284.

Conti M.E., Stripeikis J., Botrè F., et al. 2012. Trace metals intake of Nacella (P) magellanica from the Beagle Channel, Tierra del Fuego (Patagonia, Argentina). Int. J Environ. Res. Public. Health 6: 84-91.

Cremonte F., Pina S., Gilardoni C., et al. 2013. A new species of gymnophallid (Digenea) and an amended diagnosis of the genus Gymnophalloides Fujita, 1925. J. Parasitol. 99: 85-92. PMid:22803608

Cumplido M., Averbuj A., Bigatti G. 2010. Reproductive seasonality and oviposition induction in Trophon geversianus (Gastropoda: Muricidae) from Golfo Nuevo, Argentina. J. Shellfish Res. 29: 423-428.

Cumplido M., Pappalardo P., Fernandez M., et al. 2011. Embryonic development, feeding and intracapsular oxygen availability in Trophon geversianus (Gastropoda: Muricidae). J. Molluscan Stud. 77: 429-436.

D'Armas H., Yáñez D., Reyes D., et al. 2010. Composición de ácidos grasos de los caracoles marinos Phyllonotus pomum y Chicoreus brevifrons (Gastropoda: Muricidae). Int. J. Trop. Biol. 58: 645-654.

De Aranzamendi M.C., Gardenal C.N., Martin J.P., et al. 2009. Limpets of the genus Nacella (Patellogastropoda) from the southwestern Atlantic: Species identification based on molecular data. J. Molluscan Stud. 75: 241-251.

Elías I., Pereiro R. 2003. Estudios sobre la factibilidad de una pesquería artesanal con palangres en los golfos y costas de la provincia del Chubut, Argentina. INIDEP. Informe técnico 55: 1-21.

Fraga F. 1956. Determinación de glucógeno en moluscos con reactivo Antrona. Inv. Pesq. 3: 69-74.

Gabe M. 1968. Techniques histologiques. Masson, Paris, Vol. 427.

Gharsallah I., Vasconcelos P., Zamouri-Langar N., et al. 2010. Reproductive cycle and biochemical composition of Hexaplex trunculus (Gastropoda: Muricidae) from Bizerte Lagoon, northern Tunisia. Aquat. Biol. 10: 155-166.

Giese A.C. 1967. Some methods for study of the biochemical constitution of marine invertebrates. Oceanogr. Mar. Biol. Annu. Rev. 5: 159-186.

Gómez Otero J., Lanata J.L., Prieto A. 1998. Arqueología de la costa atlántica patagónica. Rev. Arque. Ame. 15: 107-185.

González-Wevar C.A., Hüne M., Cañete J.I., et al. 2012. Towards a model of postglacial biogeography in shallow marine species along the Patagonian province: lessons from the limpet Nacella magellanica (Gmelin, 1791). Evol. Biol. 12: 139. PMid:22871029 PMCid:PMC3582430

Horn A.C.M., Achaval A., Zancan D. 2005. The annual reproductive cycle of the snail Megalobulimus abbreviatus (Bequaert, 1948) (Gastropoda, Pulmonata). Braz. J. Biol. 65: 459-467. PMid:16341424

Isay S.V., Busarova N.G. 1984. Study on fatty acid composition of marine organisms. Unsaturated fatty acids of Japan sea invertebrates. Comp. Physiol. Ecol. B 77: 803-810.

Jiménez-Arce G. 1993. Chemical and nutritional composition in the marine snail Strombus gracilior (Mesogastropoda: Strombidae) of various sizes and sexes in Playa Panamá, Costa Rica. Rev. Biol. Trop. 41: 345-349.

Lee S.H., Chai J.Y. 2001. A review of Gymnophalloides seoi (Digenea: Gymnophallidae) and human infections in the Republic of Korea. Korean J. Parasitol. 39: 85-118. PMid:11441510 PMCid:PMC2721100

Leiva G.E., Castilla J.C. 2002. A review of the world marine Gastropod fishery: Evolution of catches, management and the Chilean experience. Rev. Fish. Biol. Fish. 11: 283-300.

Lowry O.H., Farr A.L., Rosebrough N.J., et al. 1951. Protein measurement of emulsifying capacity by electrical resistance. J. Food. Sci. 193: 265-275.

Manzano N.B., Aranda D.A. 1998. Variación estacional de lípidos en varios tejidos del cambute Strombus gigas (Mesogastropoda: Strombidae), en Quintana Roo, México. Rev. Biol. Trop. 46: 655-660.

Morais S., Boaventura D., Narciso L., et al. 2003. Gonad development and fatty acid composition of Patella depressa Pennant (Gastropoda: Prosobranchia) populations with different patterns of spatial distribution, in exposed and sheltered sites. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 294: 61- 80.

Mazurkiewicz M., Pokryszko B.M. 2005. Gametogenic cycle in Vertigo pusilla OF Muller, 1774 (Gastropoda: Pulmonata: Vertiginidae). Folia Malacol. 13: 43-47.

Morriconi E. 1999. Reproductive biology of the limpet Nacella (P.) deaurata (Gmelin, 1791) in Bahía Lapataia (Beagle Channel). Sci. Mar. 63: 417-426.

Najmudeen T.M. 2007. Variation in biochemical composition during gonad maturation of the tropical abalone Haliotis varia Linnaeus 1758 (Vetigastropoda: Haliotidae). Mar. Biol. Res. 3: 454-461.

Nieto Vilela R.A. 2014. Composición proximal y Toxina Paralizante de Moluscos en los gasterópodos con potencial pesquero Nacella magellanica y Tegula patagonica de Norpatagonia. Ph. D. thesis, Universidad de la Patagonia San Juan Bosco.

Orquera L.A. 1999. El consumo de moluscos por los canoeros del Extremo Austral. Rel. Soc. Arg. Antrop. 24: 307-328.

Pastorino G. 1995. Moluscos costeros recientes de Puerto Pirámide, Chubut, Argentina. Miscelánea 93, Acad. Nac. Cienc. Cordoba (Argentina), 30 pp.

Periyasamy N., Srinivasan M., Devanathan K., et al. 2011. Nutritional value of gastropod Babylonia spirata (Linnaeus, 1758) from Thazhanguda, Southeast coast of India. Asian. Pac. J. Trop. Biomed. 1: 249-252.

Penchaszadeh P., Sánchez Antelo C., Zabala S., et al. 2009. Reproduction and imposex in the edible snail Adelomelon ancilla from northern Patagonia, Argentina. Mar. Biol. 156: 1929-1939.

Picken G. 1980. The distribution, growth, and reproduction of the Antarctic limpet Nacella (Patinigera) concinna (Strebel, 1908). J. Exp Mar. Biol. Ecol. 42: 71-85.

Pombo O.A., Escofet A. 1996. Effect of exploitation on the limpet Lottia gigantea: a field study in Baja California (Mexico) and California (USA). Oceanogr. Lit. Rev. 4: 387-388.

Powell A.W.B. 1973. The patellid limpets of the World (Patellidae). Indo-Pac. Moll. 3: 75-206.

Ramón M., Amor M.J. 2002. Reproductive cycle of Bolinus brandaris and penis and genital duct size variations in a population affected by imposex. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. UK 82: 435-442.

Ren J.S., Marsden I.D., Ross A.H., et al. 2003. Seasonal variation in the reproductive activity and biochemical composition of the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) from the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand. N Z J Mar. Freshw. Res. 37: 171-182.

Spikes J.D. 1949. Metabolism of sea urchin sperm. Am. Nat. 83: 285-301.

Underwood A.J. 1979. The ecology of intertidal gastropods. Adv. Mar. Biol. 16: 111-210.

Vasconcelos P., Carvalho S., Castro M., et al. 2008. The artisanal fishery for muricid gastropods (banded murex and purple dye murex) in the Ria Formosa lagoon (Algarve coast, southern Portugal). Sci. Mar. 72: 287-298.

Velasco L.A., Barros J., Acosta E. 2007. Spawning induction and early development of the Caribbean scallops Argopecten nucleus and Nodipecten nodosus. Aquaculture 266: 153-165.

Zöllner N., Kirsch K. 1962. Über die quantitative bestimmung von lipoiden (mikromethode) mittels der vielen natürlichen lipoiden (allen bekanneten plasmalipoiden) gemeinsamen sulfophosphovanilin-reaktion. Z. Gesamte. Exp. Med. 135: 545-561.



How to Cite

Nieto Vilela RA, Cumplido M, González Giorgis Y, Gil MN, Bigatti G. Reproduction and nutritional values of the edible limpet Nacella magellanica (Gastropoda: Patellogastropoda). scimar [Internet]. 2019Sep.30 [cited 2023Nov.28];83(3):237-45. Available from: