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References - See references for Bivalve and Gastropod pages


Chlamys albida Chlamys albida
Chlamys albida (Arnold, 1906)
White Scallop
subtidal, 100-200m          size to 65mm
central to northern Alaska, across Bering Sea and south to northern Japan
The shell is white to pink and sometimes is banded. There are 6-12 wide
undulations, with numerous imbricated ribs on and between the undulations.
It was once considered to be Chlamys islandica, but that is an Atlantic species.
(previous names - Pecten hastatus albidus, Pecten erythrocomatus)
Tellina lutea
Tellina lutea Woods, 1828
Great Alaskan Tellin
intertidal to 80m          size to 116mm
Cook Inlet, AK to Arctic coast; across Bering Sea to Japan & Korea
This is a robust shell.  The interior generally has some pink or yellow coloring.

Alaskan Shells

(Bering Sea to the Arctic Ocean)

There are a number of  Pacific Northwest shells which range into central and northern Alaskan waters.  The following shells are those species which are found in Alaskan waters but which do not extend southward into the Pacific Northwest.
Size, depth and range data for most of the following shells is only approximate.  Due to their remote habitat, our knowledge of many of them is incomplete.

Cyclocardia crebricostata
Cyclocardia crebricostata (Krause, 1885)
Many-Ribbed Carditid
subtidal, 10-260m          size to 25mm
central to northern Alaska, across Bering Sea
This species has about 25 low, rounded ribs with narrow interspaces. The periostracum is thick and fibrous.
(synonyms - Cardita crebricostataVenericardia alaskana)

Click on photo to enlarge.  Scale line in photo equals 1cm unless otherwise specified.
* Species which are commonly encountered on the beach.

Similipecten greenlandicus
Similipecten greenlandicus (Sowerby, 1842)
Greenland Glass-Scallop
subtidal, 19-2560m          size to 35mm
Panarctic; Beaufort Sea, AK; North Atlantic to Greenland, Iceland and Norway; an isolated population reported off northern BC
This fragile species is transparent with a fairly smooth surface.  The right valve is smaller than the left.
(previous names - Propeamussium greenlandicus, Cyclopecten greenlandicus)
Mya baxteri
Mya baxteri Coan & Scott, 1997
Deep Softshell
subtidal, 10-100m          size to 200mm
Cold Bay, AK to Nome, AK; across Bering Sea to Kamchatka Peninsula
This shell has a very deep pallial sinus.
(synonyms - Mya intermedia, Mya profundior)

Astarte montagui
Astarte montagui (Dillwyn, 1817)

Narrow-hinge Astarte
subtidal, 10-455m          size to 45mm
Circumboreal and panarctic, reaching south to  Norton Sound, AK; Kamtchatka; Massachusetts and Scotland
This species may have variable sculpture.  The periostracum may be light brown to black.  The hinge is narrow and the teeth, small.
(previous names - Nicania montagui, Venus montagui)

Astarte crenata
Astarte crenata (J.E. Gray, 1824)
Crenulate Astarte
subtidal, 10-400m          size to 35mm
north Bering Sea to Pribilof Islands; circumpolar and panarctic; north Atlantic to Massachusettes and Norway
This species has closely spaced ribs and a shiny periostracum.  The teeth are small.  The inner ventral margin is crenulated.
(previous name - Nicania crenata)


Boreacola maltzani
Boreacola maltzani (Verkrüzen, 1875)
Arctic Montacutid
subtidal, 0.5-30m          size to 3mm
Beaufort Sea, AK; Norway; likely circumboreal
This tiny species has a highly polished periostracum.  The umbones are frequently covered in dark deposits.
(synonym - Boreacola vadosa)
Trichotropis insignis

Boreotrophon dalli
Nodulotrophon coronatus
(H.Adams & A.Adams, 1864)

Dall's Trophon
subtidal to at least 130m     size to at least 50mm
Aleutians to Arctic
This species has a long siphonal canal with short
spines crowning the whorls.  (The specimen in
photo has a broken siphonal canal.)  
(previous names - Trophon coronatus, Boreotrophon dalli)

Trichotropis insignis (Middendorff, 1849)
Gray Hairysnail
subtidal to 100m          size to 25mm
Alaska to northern Japan
This shell is short-spired with a large body whorl.

The Boreotrophons are rather variable species and are in need of further study.  The species shown here may prove to be variations of other species and exhibit a much larger range than what is listed. This could include ranging further south into the Pacific Northwest.

Beringius crebricostatus
Beringius crebricostatus Dall, 1887
Thick-cord Whelk
subtidal          size to 120mm
south Bering Sea
It has distinctive thick spiral cords.
(synonyms - Chrysodomus crebricostatus)

Buccinum polaris
Buccinum polare Gray, 1839
Polar Buccinum
subtidal to at least 90m          size to 100mm
Aleutians to Arctic, across Bering Sea to Kamchatka;
Siberia; North Atlantic
This species has a distinctive, thin, bumpy periostracum.  
The shell is very white with fine spiral lines encircling it.

Buccinum angulosum Buccinum angulosum Buccinum angulosum
Buccinum angulosum Gray, 1839
Angular Whelk
subtidal to at least 64m          Bering Sea, Circum-Arctic          size to 75mm
This species is variable in the number and thickness of axial cords.  The angle in the center of the body whorl may be subtle or very sharp.

Beringius stimpsoni
Beringius freilei Beringius freilei
Beringius freilei Dall, 1895
subtidal to at least 350m          size to 110mm
Bering Sea to Barents Sea
This is a tall spired species with small, evenly spaced cords.

Beringius stimpsoni (Gould, 1860)
subtidal to at least 56m          size to 110mm
Bering Sea
This species has prominent, angled axial ribs.
(synonyms - Beringius malleatus)

Buccinum rondinum
Buccinum cf. rondinum Dall, 1919
subtidal to at least 291m          size to at least 45mm
Southeast Bering Sea
This species has a yellowish-brown periostracum.  The shell has fine spiral
lines.  The early whorls and top of the body whorl show faint axial ribbing.

Buccinum sigmatopleura
Buccinum sigmatopleura Dall, 1907
subtidal to at least 246m     size to 70mm
Aleutians to Arctic
This species has prominent axial ribbing.

Boreotrophon cepula
Boreotrophon cepula (Sowerby, 1880)
Scallion Trophon
subtidal to at least 110m     size to 40mm
Cook Inlet, Alaska to Arctic, across Bering Sea to Japan
This species has a long, curved siphonal canal with a taller spire and less prominent shoulder spines than N. coronatus.
 (previous name -   Trophon cepula, Boreotrophon beringi)

Clinopegma magnum
Clinopegma magnum (Dall, 1895)
Magna Whelk
subtidal to at least 150m          size to 114mm
Aleutians to Arctic; across Bering Sea to Japan
This is a sturdy shell with an adherent periostracum.  
(Synonym - Ancistrolepis magnum)

Buccinum costatum Buccinum costatum
Buccinum costatum Golikov, 1980
subtidal to at least 366m     size to at least 91mm
Bering Sea
This species has regular, tightly spaced spiral cords
and a light brown periostracum.

Neptunea multistriata

Neptunea ventricosa Neptunea ventricosa Neptunea ventricosa
Neptunea (Rugosa-group) ventricosa (Gmelin, 1791)
Fat Neptune
subtidal, 17 to 320m          Bering Sea, Circumpolar          size to 160mm
This shell is thick and inflated.  It can be somewhat variable in appearance.

Clinopegma decora Clinopegma decora Clinopegma decora
           from central Aleutians                          from Sea of Japan                           from Sea of Okhotsk       
Clinopegma decora (Dall, 1925)
subtidal, 30-300m          Bering Sea to Sea of Japan          size to 130mm
This species is somewhat variable across its range.
(synonym - Ancistrolepis decora)

Pseudoliomesus nux (Dall, 1907)
Nut Whelk
subtidal to at least 100m          size to 35mm
southern Bering Sea to Japan
This small species has a thick, glossy, white lip.
(previous name - Liomesus nux)

Volutopsius middendorffi Volutopsius middendorffi
Volutopsius middendorffi (Dall, 1891)
Middendorf's Volute Whelk
subtidal to at least 411m          Aleutians to Arctic to Korea          size to 124mm
This species has a large body whorl and a yellowish operculum.

Aforia circinata Aforia circinata
                                                     shows sexual dimorphism in aperture
Aforia circinata (Dall, 1873)
Keeled Aforia
subtidal to 318m          size to 81mm
northeast Gulf of Alaska into Bering Sea; Japan
This species has a thin shell and a tall spire,with a prominent cord encircling the whorls.  Sexual dimorphism exhibited through the shape of the aperture is very rare in shells.  The above photo shows the male and female forms.

Pseudoliomesus nux

Pyrulofusus harpa Pyrulofusus harpa
Pyrulofusus harpa (Mörch, 1857)
Left-hand Whelk

subtidal, at least 100-267m     size to 120mm
Gulf of Alaska to south Bering Sea
This is a naturally sinistral species with strong spiral cords.

Pyrulofusus dexius
Pyrulofusus dexius (Dall, 1907)
Right-handed Whelk
subtidal, at least 90-100m     size to 160mm
Aleutian Islands; Bering Sea

Volutopsius fragilis

Citation:  Pacific Northwest Shell Club, www.PNWSC.org

Arctomelon tamikoae
Arctomelon tamikoae (Kosuge, 1970)
subtidal to at least 402m     size to 200mm
This is similar to Arctomelon stearnsi.  This species
has vertical ribbing on the whorls.

Neptunea (Multistriata-group) multistriata
(Aurivillius, 1885)
subtidal          size to 90mm
Bering Sea, Circumpolar

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This page last revised: 9-7-2016


Pyrulofusus melonis Pyrulofusus melonis
Pyrulofusus melonis (Dall, 1891)
Melon Shaped Whelk
subtidal to at least 415m          Bering Sea to Japan          size to 120mm
This species has fine spiral lines and wavy, irregular axial ridges.
(synonym -  Volutopsius melonis)

Volutopsius castaneus
Volutopsius castaneus (Mörch, 1858)
Chestnut Volute Whelk
subtidal to at least 132m          size to 123mm
southern Aleutian Islands through Bering Sea
 to northern Japan
This species is chestnut brown in color and the surface is mostly smooth.  The  body whorl may be slender to heavy shouldered.
(synonyms - Volutopsius stef
anssoni, Volutopsius simplex)

Volutopsius fragilis (Dall, 1891)
subtidal, 27-400m      Bering Sea         size to 130mm
This species has a thin, fragile shell.  The body whorl is very large for it's size.  
It has a yellowish operculum (not shown here).

Pyrulofusus deformis Pyrulofusus deformis 
Pyrulofusus deformis (Reeve, 1847)
Sinistral Arctic Whelk
subtidal, 98-176m          Aleutians to Arctic; Circumpolar          size to 170mm
This is a naturally sinistral species.  It is a somewhat thin and fragile shell.
The spiral cords are small and can be very faint.

Neptunea heros
Neptunea (Rugosa-group) heros (Gray, 1850)
Heros Neptune
subtidal, 20-200m          size to 175mm
Circumpolar Arctic; Bering Sea to Japan
This species has a fairly thick shell with
distinct shoulder nodes on the body whorl.