Activity of Patella vulgata was monitored in the asymmetrical tidal regime of an Irish sealough, Lough Hyne, and also outside the lough in a normal tidal regime. An automated method was used, allowing continuous records to be made over two weeks. Most activity occurred at night while the limpets were emersed. Rainfall depressed activity. There was little activity during daytime emersion, contrary to the results of previous studies in which low-shore limpets foraged diurnally as well as nocturnally. Timing of activity in relation to tidal coverage was similar inside the lough and outside.
Activity of high-shore limpets within the lough was greater at spring tides than at neaps, but that of low-shore limpets was greater at neaps. Outside the lough, both high-shore and low-shore limpets showed greater activity at spring tides. Reasons for the differences are discussed.
Using Maximum Entropy Spectral Analysis, three periodicities underlying limpet activity were indicated. These were at h, 124 h and 8–2 h. When limpet activity was simulated by adding three sine waves of appropriate periodicity, rhythms very similar to those recorded from the shore were produced.