Haliotis tuberculata Linnaeus, 1758
f. lamellosa Lamarck, 1822
Distribution: Algarve to Mediterranean, Adriatic, Aegean.
Under stones in shallow water, to 20m deep on rocky bottoms.
Smaller than atlantic specimens: to 100mm, average ca. 40mm. Highly variable.

This is a local form of H. tuberculata (see D. Geiger, 2000. Boll. malac 35: 57-120).
Porto Vecchio, Corsica. 51-52mm.
2-8m deep in crevices and under rocks, south of Trachylos harbour, NW. of Kissamos,
western Crete. 30,5-38mm.
2-4m deep, under stones and rocks, western coast of Ghjunchitu bay,
westernmost of the twin coves W. of Isola Rossa, Corsica. 28-47mm.
The surface is always more or less corded, with folds that can vary from none to extreme.
2-4m deep under stones, Anse de l'Arène, Cassis, Provence, S. France. 27-50mm.
2m deep under stones and in crevices, on rocky flats, Anse du Corton, Cassis, Provence,
S. France, 36-48mm.
Specimens collected in very shallow water, among wrecks, on rocks and pieces of metal,
in the harbour of Isola Rossa, Corsica. Numerous specimens of Chiton olivaceus Spengler, 1797,
which were found on this same spot, were also very colored and patterned. 22-31mm.
2-6m deep on rocky bottom in crevices, Falasarna bay, Kissamos, W. Crete. 21-49mm.
Juvenile.
I: dead in shellgrit, town's beach, Isola Rossa, Corsica. 6mm.
J: 3m deep, under stones, under the Castle cliff, Cassis, Provence, France. 11mm.
K: dead, 2m deep in crevice, in reef, Elafonissi islands, Kissamos, Crete. 12mm.
L: 1m deep, dead under stone, la Madrague des Lecques, Provence, France. 15mm.
M: 6m deep, in crevice, in reef, Elafonissi. 16mm.
Shallow water under stones, in a sheltered cove, southern coast of Punta di Spanu,
north side of Calvi Bay, Corsica. 9-45mm.
2-3m deep under stones among large rocks on exposed shore,
Punta di Spanu, Calvi, Corsica. 36-47mm.
Beachstormed, Plage de la Conque, Cap d'Agde, Languedoc-Roussillon,
south France. 6,5-30,5mm.
Extreme variants:
Top: 6m deep, under stone, in a narrow cove in the SW. end of Pomègues, Frioul islands,
Marseille, Provence, S. France. 23,5mm.
Bottom: 15-20m deep, under stone, Girona, Catalunya, Spain. 27mm.

 
The Iberian transition
Area: from Setúbal to Murcia.

True Sea-Potatoes are generally not very lengthened.
These two shells are extremely slender for NE. atlantic specimens. Such shapes remain rare
in northern waters, and begin to be found more commonly in the south.
The progressive elongation is on a par with size decrease.
Northern Brittany, fish market, Fall 2006. 90-103mm.
Three abalones from Galicia. 79-83mm. The shells keep an usual design,
but are smaller, thinner, and become a bit slender. The nacre shows noticeable reflects.
Abalones become smaller, thinner, with some kind of folding. Colour and nacre
remain atlantic. 20-25m deep, Ines bay, Setúbal, Portugal. 55mm.
A perfect mediterranean design:
slender, a nacre with blue reflections, a dorsum with deep colours and rich patterns.
15-18m deep, under hard rocks, on rocky bottom; Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal. 36mm.
3-5m deep, under rocks, Praia da Dona Ana, Lagos, Algarve. 35mm.
The sculpture, as it is shown on these two pics above, can vary a lot.
Above and below: at low tide, 1-2m deep, under rocks, Cape Trafalgar, western Cadiz, Andalucia.
These two first specimens are closer to Atlantic morph than to the Mediterranean one.
The juvenile (true subovata testa) follows the description made by Linnaeus.
The adult has strong wavy folds, a feature that is supposed to exist only in f. lamellosa,
but it shows traces of a pink/red that is never found in mediterranean specimens.
32-54mm, 2005-2006. B.J. Muñoz Sanchez legit (ES).
Ultrafolded! 2m deep, under stones, Mijas, Malaga, Andalucia, Spain. 36mm.
Compared with shells from Brittany, the south Iberian population looks like an other species.
Same spot, 42mm. An interesting shape for this large and flat shell.
The high variability in pattern and sculpture is typical of all the mediterranean groups.
Above and below: 1-2m deep, under rocks and stones, Aguilas, Murcia. 37-49mm.
These two first shells are not elongate like true lamellosa,
but they begin to match Lamarck's description.
Two fully mature specimens, close to the lamellosa morph.
52-60mm, September 2006. B.J. Muñoz Sanchez legit (ES).
A pure wonder, close to the specimens from western Morocco:
15-18m deep, under hard rocks, on rocky bottom; Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal. 42,5mm.

All pics © Olivier Caro