Littorina scutulata Gould, 1849

Common name(s): Checkered periwinkle

Phylum Mollusca
 Class Gastropoda
  Subclass Prosobranchia
   Order Mesogastropoda
    Suborder Taenioglossa
     Family Littorinidae
(Littorina scutulata on Catalina Island, CA)
(Photo by: Dave Cowles May 1996)
Description:  Periwinkle with height decidedly greater than the diameter, spire usually has 4 whorls, Aperture is purplish inside but has no white band inside the aperture.  Shell has no umbilicus, columella is narrow.  Shell height to 1.5 cm, shell is dark brown, purple, or black, often with lighter bands or a checkerboard pattern of whitish areas.

How to Distinguish from Similar Species:  L. sitkana has a diameter almost equal to the height, has spiral ridges.

Geographical Range:  Kodiak Island, Alaska to Bahia de Tortuga, Baja California

Depth Range:  High and upper middle intertidal

Habitat:  Common on rocky shores and rocks within bays.

Biology/Natural History:  Lives lower on rocks than does L. planaxis.  Migrates up and down rocks with the tide.  Crawl out of tidepools at night, in during the day.  Often hide at low tide in cracks or barnacle shells.  Muscular waves of foot travel from front to rear (retrograde).  The waves on the two sides of the foot are out of phase with one another (ditaxic).  Feeds mainly on diatom films, microscopic algae, lichens, etc.  Will also feed on Pelvetia, Ulva, other larger algae.  Breeds in all seasons except summer.  Eggs are laid underwater, individually packaged in flattened capsules within a sausage-shaped gelatinous mass coiled in a spiral and holding over 2000 eggs.  Leptasterias hexactis feeds on this snail.  Eye anatomy is similar to that of the land snail Helix aspera.  In Oregon over 10% of individuals harbor parasitic flukes.

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Dichotomous Keys:

Kozloff (1987, 1996)

General References:
Morris et al., 1980
Kozloff, 1993

Scientific Articles:

General Notes and Observations:  Locations, abundances, unusual behaviors:

Littorina often aggregate in the very high intertidal, inside tidepools or on the bare rock.  Photo by Dave Cowles at Little Corona del Mar, CA March 2005

This closeup clearly shows the checkered outside and purplish inside the aperture with a dark, horny operculum. Scale marks to the right are mm. Photo by Dave Cowles, July 2020.

Authors and Editors of Page:
Dave Cowles (2004):  Created original page