A SPANISH environmental group has launched an awareness campaign for an endangered species of limpet endemic to the Costa del Sol.

With a thick shell that can exceed 10cm in diameter and the ability to change sex in either direction, the ribbed Mediterranean limpet is not your ordinary mollusc.

Once widespread throughout the Mediterranean, Patella ferruginea, to use its Latin name, is now clinging on to existence in only a few locations, including off the Costa del Sol.

It is the first marine species for which Spain has developed a national conservation strategy, and the governmental Foundation of Biodiversity recently teamed up with Ecologistas en Accion (Ecologists in Action) to help save this unique gastropod.

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CONSERVATION: The opening of the exhibition in Estepona

Under the campaign slogan of La lapa que da la lata (‘the nagging limpet’), the duo aims to raise public awareness of the human activities threatening the limpet’s existence.

These include coastal transformation and destruction, water contamination as well as illegal collection, for the sea snails sometimes go the French way – stewed in a soup.

The exhibition opened in Estepona on Saturday, in the Archaeological Museum, and will tour the Costa del Sol in the months to come.

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