‘Alien’ creature’s journey from Mablethorpe beach to BBC Springwatch programme

The slipper limpet found in Mablethorpe which featured on the BBC Springwatch programme.
The slipper limpet found in Mablethorpe which featured on the BBC Springwatch programme.

AFTER being unearthed on Mablethorpe beach this ‘alien creature’ found its way onto national television this week.

Ten-year-old Allissia Haw discovered this strange fist-like shell on the north end of the beach earlier this week, it was later discovered to be a slipper limpet.

She sent it into BBC’s Springwatch Unsprung who featured it on their programme on Thursday night.

Nature expert Chris Packham picked it up on the show and declared: “They’re slipper limpets!

“They smell very mariney, we’re watching a sex change in action.”

Chris explained to viewers that the limpets live in stacks with the male on top and female on the bottom, and when the female dies the young male above her spends the next 60 days slowly enduring a sex change to turn into a female.

Allissia, who lives in the town and attends Mablethorpe Primary School, put the creature in the garden shed and it was only when she showed her Grandad Peter Gregory that the enormity of the find began to surface.

They sent it into the producers and later saw it on the primetime show.

Richard Harrington from the Marine Conservation Society observed that although more commonly found in the south of Britain, they are found off the Lincolnshire coast from time to time.

This is about as far north, on the East coast, that they have been found,” he said.

“They might well become more common in the area.

“They have spread in range around the coast over the last hundred years or so after being introduced to our shores in Essex in the late 19th century, when people started to farm oysters from overseas stocks - and these came with them.

“So, it’s an alien species, that is now very common in the south of the UK.”

Allissia’s Grandad Peter said: “I’ve never seen one in the area in the 50 years I’ve lived here!”

The slipper limpet belongs to the category of invertebrates of snails and slugs, the marine gastropod mollusc, and is part of the Calyptraeidae family.