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Phylum Mollusca > Class Gastropoda > Limpets
Hoof-shield limpet
Scutus sp.
Family Fissurellidae
updated Oct 2016

Where seen? This large slug-like limpet is sometimes encountered on our Northern shores, under stones usually alone.

Oval shaped animal (3-5cm). The body is a lot larger than its shell, usually folded up around the edges of the shell and may cover most of the shell. In fact, the shell might be completely covered by the mantle, so that it appears to be a slug at first glance. Hoof-shield limpets come in various colours. The body may be black or beige, and shell white or brown. It has a pair of short tentacles. Scutus unguis has an all-black body. Scutus sinensis is the only other species so far listed for Singapore.

The hoof-shield limpet is a true limpet and breathes with gills.

Unlike other members of the Family Fissurellidae, a Shield-limpet doesn't have a hole at the top of its shell.

Sometimes confused with slugs which are snails without shells. Here's more on how to tell apart slugs and other slug-like animals.

Why shield-limpet? 'Scutus' comes from the word 'suctum' which is the name of the Roman shield that the shell resembles.

What do they eat?
According to Gosliner, they appear to feed on colonial ascidians.

Status and threats: Scutus unguis is listed as 'Endangered' on Red List of threatened animals of Singapore. According to the Singapore Red Data Book: "Once common on many rocky shores, it is now rare due to habitat loss. Seawalls do not appear to be a viable alternative habitat for this animal."

Chek Jawa, Jul 02

Chek Jawa, Apr 03

Tuas, Mar 06

A barnacle grew on its shell!
Changi, Dec 10

Changi, Dec 10

Hoof-shield limpets on Singapore shores

Photos of Hoof-shield limpets for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

Punggol, Dec 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Punggol, Jun 12
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Pulau Sekudu, Oct 11
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Pulau Sekudu, Jul 16
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Beting Bronok, Jun 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his flickr.

Tanah Merah, Dec 08
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

East Coast, Jun 09
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

East Coast Park, Jul 16
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Pulau Senang, Aug 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his flickr.



  • Tan Siong Kiat and Henrietta P. M. Woo, 2010 Preliminary Checklist of The Molluscs of Singapore (pdf), Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore.
  • Tan, K. S. & L. M. Chou, 2000. A Guide to the Common Seashells of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 160 pp.
  • Davison, G.W. H. and P. K. L. Ng and Ho Hua Chew, 2008. The Singapore Red Data Book: Threatened plants and animals of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore). 285 pp.
  • Gosliner, Terrence M., David W. Behrens and Gary C. Williams. 1996. Coral Reef Animals of the Indo-Pacific: Animal life from Africa to Hawaii exclusive of the vertebrates Sea Challengers. 314pp.
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