Velutina prolongata Carpenter, 1864

Common name(s): Smooth velvet snail, baby's ear, elongate lamellaria

Synonyms: Velutina prolongata
Class Gastropoda 
Order Mesogastropoda 
Suborder Taenioglossa 
Velutina prolongata found near Cape Flattery, WA.  Shell length 1.4 cm.
(Photo by:  Dave Cowles)
Description:  Members of family Velutinidae have very low, external, firmly calcified spiraled shells like abalones but do not have the excurrent holes in the shell that abalones have. Velutina prolongata has an aperture that is approximately as wide as it is long (photo), and it does not have ridges in the periostracum that diverge as they approach the aperture.  Its spire is short but projecting.  Shell is usually pinkish with smooth brown periostracum.  The white body seems large for the shell.  The edge of the foot is bright yellow or orange (photo) and the edges of the mantle that overlap the shell have groups of short black bands (photo).  The shell is actually covered by a thin layer of tissue over the periostracum.  Has no operculum.  Diameter to 2.4 cm.

How to Distinguish from Similar Species:  Velutina velutina has an aperture longer than wide and has periostracal ridges which diverge as they approach the aperture.  Its spire is depressed.

Geographical Range:  Northern Alaska to central California

Depth Range:  Usually sublittoral to 100 m, rarely intertidal

Habitat:  Rocky areas; Most Velutina feed on and associate with tunicates.

Biology/Natural History:   Members of this family feed on and associate with tunicates and lay their eggs on the tunicates as well.



Dichotomous Keys:
  Carlton, 2007
  Kozloff, 1987, 1996

General References:   Harbo, 1997
  Lamb and Hanby, 2005
  Rice, 1971

Scientific Articles:

Web sites:

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

I have rarely found this shell, but it can be found both on the open coast and in Deception Pass.

This view of the underside shows the brilliant yellow or orange rim around the foot.

Live on hand

The groups of dark bands at the edges of the mantle can be seen in this live individual sitting on my hand.  Photo by Dave Cowles, July 2010


The aperture is approximately as wide as it is long.  Notice also the mantle scars inside the aperture to the right. (the head was to the right)

Preserved specimen from Deception Pass

This preserved specimen from the Rosario museum was found in Deception Pass by D. Graham in 1987 and identified by Dave Cowles in 2010.  Shell length 2 cm.

Authors and Editors of Page:
Dave Cowles (2010):  Created original page
CSS coding for page developed by Jonathan Cowles (2007)

Rosario Invertebrates web site provided courtesy of Walla Walla University