When the limpets arrive in the hatchery, the group of researchers of the University of Genoa carries out the first test addressed to identify the sex of the specimens. The sex cannot be identified externally, it is performed through a small biopsy with the use of a syringe that allows to reach and take a small sample of gonad from the specimen. If the procedure is performed correctly, it does not cause any damage to the animal.
The next step is the observation under the microscope. Although sometimes the sex can be identified by looking at the contents of the syringe (eggs or sperm) with human eyes, it is better to be sure by looking at it under the microscope.