Thursday, August 7, 2008

Life Photo: Purple-ringed top snail

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Mollusca

Class: Gastropoda

Order: Archaeogastropoda

Family: Trochidae

This is a purple-ringed top snail, Calliostoma annulatum, the most beautiful shelled snail on the west coast in my opinion. They cruise up and down kelp plants looking for a meal. Generally, they eat what ever is growing on the kelp plants, such as hydriods, bryozoans, diatoms, and copepods. If there is nothing on the kelp plant, they will eat the kelp itself. They have been known to travel 20-30 feet in a twenty-four hour period.


Eric Heupel said...

That is a gorgeous shell! Do they tend to stick to one blade/kelp "plant" or do they move to new kelp frequently?

Brine Queen said...

That's an interesting question. I don't think that they are limited to one kelp plant (or even to kelps plants), as other books have mentioned finding them on rocks and such. I think the study which looked at movement just used snails on kelp plants because it was easier to keep track of them for short periods of time.

Babs said...

Do shell shops carry these shells? If so, can you provide the name(s) of the sea shell shop(s)? I live in Central Texas and have collected shells from all over the world and I think this is one of the prettiest shells I've ever seen. I'm hankerin' to have one. Thank you very much. Babs

Brine Queen said...

I don't think that shell shops have these. Most shell shops carry shells from tropical species, and this is a cold-water snail. It's also only the size of my thumbnail, and the colors tend to fade out of water.

In short, best to be enjoyed on the living snail.