Family Columbellidae

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

Alia carinata Alia carinata Alia carinata
                  Bremerton, WA                                               Oak Bay, WA, intertidal                                 Bremerton, WA, intertidal
                                                                                                                                                           encrusted in Black
Tar Algae

Alia carinata (Hinds, 1844)
Carinate Dovesnail *
intertidal to 15m          northern Mexico to southern Alaska          size to 11mm
This is very common intertidally.  The shell is pale tan to brown.  A thin brown periostracum obscures intricate patterns of lines and blotches.  This shell is variable in shape.  Our photos show a fairly smooth body whorl but it may also have a prominent shoulder ridge.
(synonyms - Mitrella carinata, Nitidella carinata, Columbella carinata, Mitrella californica)


Mitrella aurantiaca (Dall, 1871)
Golden Dovesnail
intertidal to subtidal          size to 4.5mm
northern Mexico to southern BC
This is very rare to find in the Pacific Northwest and has locally only been found on the west coast of Vancouver Island.  The shell is very small with a yellowish-brown shell.  It may have a pattern of brown chevron markings.  
In contrast, our locally common species, A. carinata, has wavy, irregular markings.
(previous names -
Alia aurantiaca, Astyris aurantiaca)

Amphissa columbiana Amphissa columbiana Amphissa columbiana
       Whiskey Creek Beach, WA                                      Oak Bay, WA, intertidal                                            Anacortes, WA, subtidal  
Amphissa columbiana Dall, 1916
Wrinkled Amphissa
intertidal to 30m          southern California to northern Alaska          size to 30mm
This is very common intertidally.  The shells may be light tan to orange to reddish-brown and can be striped with patterns.  It also has a thin periostracum.  The shell is sculptured with ridges which are slightly curved but predominantly vertical and parallel.    

Mitrella aurantiaca
Kyuquot, BC

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This page last revised: 5-25-2019

Amphissa versicolor Dall, 1871
Joseph's Coat Amphissa
intertidal to 46m          northern Mexico to southern BC          size to 19mm
This is extremely rare to find north of Oregon.  It has similar coloring to A. columbiana.  It can be differentiated by its ribbing which is at an angle to the central axis.  This species also does not grow as large as A. columbiana.   
(synonyms - Amphissa incisa, Amphissa lineata)

Amphissa versicolor
southern California