Amphissa versicolor Dall, 1871

Common name(s): Wrinkled amphissa, variegated amphissa

Synonyms: Amphissa  cymata, A. versicolor var. cymata, A. versicolor var. incisa, A. versicolor var. lineata, A. versicolor versicolor Amphissa versicolor
Class Gastropoda 
Order Neogastropoda
Suborder Rachiglossa
Amphissa versicolor, about 1.4 cm long
(Photo by:  Dave Cowles, 2007)

Description:  Like other members of the largely tropical family Columbellidae, this species is a small snail which has a short siphonal notch.  Like other members of genus Amphissa, it has both axial ribs and spiral ridges on all whorls.Amphissa versicolor grows to about 1.6 cm length and is about 2x as long as wide. It has no folds on the columella but may have 2-3 small teeth (denticles) there. The whorls are slightly inflated. Its 13-20 axial ribs are prominent but on the spire they are directed at an angle from the shell's anterior-posterior axis (see above). Often has various color patterns of white, cream, gray, yellow, or brown on the shell, sometimes with dark spiral lines..

How to Distinguish from Similar Species:Amphissa columbiana grows to 1.8 cm length and the columella has fine folds (plications), plus the axial ribs on the spire whorls are aligned with the anterior-posterior axis. Linobuccinum dirum (the dire whelk) also has both axial ribs and spiral ridges but its axial ribs are aligned with the anterior-posterior axis and do not extend onto the body whorl (in worn specimens the axial ribs may be missing from the spire also); its siphonal canal curves, its columella is smooth and arched, and dark spiral lines show on the inside of the outer lip of the aperture.. It also grows to 5 centimeters long. Alia species have spiral ridges only on the anterior port of the body whorl.

Geographical Range:  Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia down to northern Baja California.

Depth Range:  Mostly intertidal, sometimes subtidal on kelp holdfasts or to 30 m.

Habitat:  Rocky, in protected or semi-protected areas.; or on soft bottoms. 

Biology/Natural History:  Predatory or scavengers. The eggs are laid in 2 mm capsules on red algae.



Dichotomous Keys:
  Kozloff, 1987, 1996
  Carlton, 2007

General References:
  Morris et al., 1980

Scientific Articles:
De Maintenon, M., 2019. The Columbellid species of the northeast Pacific coast from the Aleutian Islands to Cedros Island, Baja California (Neogastropoda: Columbellidae). Zoosymposia 13: 160-183. DOI: 10.11646/zoosymposia.13.1.19

McLean, J.H. and P. Kanner, 2005. On the color form (or species?) lineata Stearns, 1873, of Amphissa versicolor Dall, 1871,
with illustrations of other named forms of the species (Gastropoda: Columbellidae). The Festivus, 37, 111–115.

Web sites:

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

Authors and Editors of Page:
Dave Cowles (2024):  Created original page
CSS coding for page developed by Jonathan Cowles

Salish Sea Invertebrates web site provided courtesy of Walla Walla University