Family Velutinidae & Naticidae

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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.

Marsenina rhombica (Dall, 1871)
Marbled Lamellarid
intertidal to subtidal          size to 40mm
northern Mexico to southern Alaska
This is rarely found.  It is very difficult to spot against the compound tunicate on which it lives.  The body of the animal blends in perfectly and the shell is barely visible.
(previous name - Lamellaria rhombica)

Marsenina stearnsii Rich Passage, WA, subtidal 

Velutina velutina Velutina velutina
                                         Oak Bay, WA                                                                           Oak Bay, WA, intertidal
Limneria prolongata Limneria prolongata Limneria prolongata
                                            Oak Bay, WA                                                                  Oak Bay, WA, intertidal         Port Hardy, BC, intertidal

Marsenina stearnsii Marsenina stearnsii Marsenina stearnsii Marsenina stearnsii
                 Neah Bay, WA                               Port Hardy, BC, intertidal                      Port Hardy, BC, intertidal                  Rich Passage, WA, subtidal

Marsenina rhombica
Neah Bay, WA

Marsenina stearnsii (Dall, 1871)
Stearn's Ear Shell
intertidal to 19m          northern Mexico to central Alaska          size to 20mm
This is rarely found. The pattern of spots on the animals body perfectly blends with the compound tunicates on which it lives. The empty shell looks identical to that of M. rhombica. They can only be identified by the living animal.
(previous name - Lamellaria stearnsii)

Marsenina zadei Marsenina zadei
             Port Townsend, WA, subtidal                         Pearse Islands, BC, subtidal
Marsenina zadei Behrens, Ornelas & Valdes, 2014
subtidal, at least 3-15m          Monterey Co., CA to Pearse Islands, BC          size to 15mm
This small species is found on an encrusting compound ascidian where it is well camouflaged.  The mantle is off-white to tan to orange and is sprinkled with black specks.  Some specimens exhibit a dark brown horseshoe mark and within this mark are tubercles.  The shell is a translucent white and exhibits growth lines.

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 Limneria prolongata Limneria prolongata
           Rich Passage, WA, subtidal                       Port Townsend, WA, subtidal        
Cryptonatica affinis Cryptonatica affinis
                          San Juan Islands, WA                                                                 Petersburg, AK, intertidal
Cryptonatica affinis (Gmelin, 1791)
Arctic Moonsnail
Very low intertidal to subtidal          northern Mexico to northern Alaska          size to 25mm
This is rarely found intertidally.  This animal has a calcareous operculum.   The shell is virtually identical to C. aleutica.  They can be differentiated by the live animal.  In this species the body of the animal is pure white.
(synonyms - Natica affinis, Natica clausa, Cryptonatica clausa)
This page last revised: 8-15-2019

Limneria prolongata (Carpenter, 1864)
Smooth Velvet Snail
intertidal to 100m          size to 22mm
central California to northern Alaska
This is infrequently found intertidally.  It lives under rocks.  The shell has a brown periostracum.  The animal has a distinctive orange margin on the foot and banded markings on the mantle.
(previous name - Velutina prolongata)

Cryptonatica aleutica Cryptonatica aleutica
         San Juan Islands, WA                                               Petersburg, AK, intertidal (very low tide)
Cryptonatica aleutica (Dall, 1919)
Aleutian Moonsnail
intertidal to 400m          southern California to northern Alaska          size to 60mm
This is infrequently found intertidally.  The animal has a calcareous operculum.  The body of the animal is covered with brown spots.  This shell grows much larger than C. affinis.  
(previous name - Natica aleutica)  

Velutina velutina
Port Townsend, WA, subtidal

Velutina velutina (O.F. Müller, 1776)
Spiral Velvet Snail
subtidal to 100m          size to 20mm
central California to northern Alaska;
        circumpolar, south to Maine & the Meditteranean          
This species is infrequently found intertidally.  The shell has spiral ridges under its thick brown periostracum.  It is found on rocks near tunicates.
(synonyms - Velutina laevigata, Velutina plicatilis, Velutina sitkensis, Velutina cryptospira)

Calinaticina oldroydii
Swiftsure Bank, BC

Calinaticina oldroydii (Dall, 1897)
Oldroyd's Fragile Moonsnail
subtidal to at least 200m          size to 70mm
north Mexico to south BC
This species has a thin shell and generally a squat shape.  It has a wide, deep umbilicus.  The horny operculum is has light brown rays which indicate growth increments.
(previous name - Sigaretus oldroydii)

Euspira pallida
Victoria, BC

Euspira pallida (Broderip & Sowerby, 1829)
Pale Northern Moonsnail
intertidal to 500m          size to 40mm
north Mexico to north Alaska; circumpolar
This is rarely found intertidally.  The umbilicus is almost completely closed and it has a horny operculum.  The living animal is translucent white in color.
(previous names - Polinices pallidus, Lunatia pallida)

Neverita lewisii Neverita lewisii Neverita lewisii
      Birch Bay State Park, WA       Penrose Point State Park, WA, intertidal         Bremerton, WA, intertidal
                                                        found eating a Leukoma staminea
Neverita lewisii Neverita lewisii
    Birch Bay State Park, WA, intertidal, egg collar                    Freshwater Bay, WA, subtidal
Neverita lewisii (Gould, 1847)
Lewis's Moonsnail *
intertidal to 180m          northern Mexico to southern Alaska; Japan          size to 14cm
This is commonly found intertidally.  The shell's large size cannot be mistaken for another.  It has a brown, horny operculum.  When the animal extends out of the shell, it is much larger than the shell.  This predatory animal hunts clams, which it then drills into and eats.  By extruding all the excess water, the animal can then retract completely back into the shell.  The fully extended animal in the lower right photo is over a foot long.  The distinctive, large egg collars are often seen on the beach as well.
(synonyms - Euspira lewisii, Polinices lewisii, Lunatia lewisii, Natica lewisii, Polinices algidus)