Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK

Research Article

Radula synthesis by three species of iron mineralizing molluscs: production rate and elemental demand

J.A. Shawa1, D.J. Maceya1 c1 and L.R. Brookera2

a1 Division of Science and Engineering, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Perth, Western Australia 6150, Australia

a2 Faculty of Science, Health and Education, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore DC, Queensland, 4558, Australia


A cold-shock technique was used to determine radula production rates for the chitons Acanthopleura hirtosa and Plaxiphora albida, and for the limpet Patelloida alticostata, which replaced their radular teeth at rates of 0.40, 0.36 and 0.51 rows d−1, respectively. These rates are far slower than those determined previously for non-iron-mineralizing molluscs, suggesting that the improved working life of the teeth afforded by iron-mineralization acts to significantly reduce replacement rates. In addition, inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy has been used to determine the quantity of iron and other elements comprising the radula of each species. These data, used in conjunction with the radula production rates, reveal that A. hirtosa, Plaxiphora albida and Patelloida alticostata have daily radula mineralization requirements for iron of 3.06, 4.12 and 0.55 μg, respectively. Such information is vital for continuing studies related to the cellular delivery of ions and subsequent biomineralization of the tooth cusps in chitons and limpets.

(Received August 29 2006)

(Accepted November 06 2007)


c1 Correspondence should be addressed to: D.J. Macey Division of Science and Engineering Murdoch University Murdoch Perth Western Australia 6150 Australia email: