Historical shell form variation in Lottia subrugosa from southeast Brazilian coast: possible responses to anthropogenic pressures


•Shell alterations have been used as proxies of environmental disturbances.

•Both biometric and morphometric parameters were used to detect shell alterations.

•Limpet shells sampled during the last 7 decades were assessed.

•Shell morphology alterations were detected at least after 40 years interval.

•Shell alterations were atributed to contamination increase and to climate change.


Mollusk shells can provide important information regarding environmental parameters. It is known that shell morphology is affected by both natural and anthropogenic factors. However, few studies have investigated alterations in shell morphology over a historical perspective and considering chemical contamination and climate changes. The present study assessed shell form (shape and size) variations of limpet (Lottia subrugosa) shells sampled from 1950 to 1981 (past) in comparison with organisms obtained in 2018 (present). Differences between shells from the past and present (2018) were detected, being shell weight and height the two most important affected parameters. The differences observed were attributed to the possible increase in contamination over the years due to human population growth and to climate change. Additionally, when shells from the past were evaluated according to the decade they were sampled, results indicate that it was necessary an interval of 40 years to shell form be altered within populations.

Harayashiki C. A. Y., Martins, C. P., Márquez F., Bigatti G. & Castro Í. B., 2020. Historical shell form variation in Lottia subrugosa from southeast Brazilian coast: Possible responses to anthropogenic pressures. Marine Pollution Bulletin 155: 111180. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2020.111180. Article (subscription required).

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