How to Distinguish from Similar Species: This species looks similar to Nucella species, especially N. ostrina, but no Nucella species has the tooth on the outer lip of the aperture. In California, may be confused with A. spirata but can be distinguished by the prominent shoulder and the strong spiral sculpture.
Geographical Range: Washington to Baja California. Uncommon north of California.
Habitat: Rocky intertidal.
Biology/Natural History: A predatory snail. Prey includes Littorina, barnacles. Egg capsules are 4-9 mm long. Some only develop to the gastrula stage, while some continue development and eat these "nurse eggs". There are 17 to 46 embryos per capsule. Hatch as juveniles. Crepidula adunca are sometimes found on this snail, though Crepidula prefers the black turban snail.
Kozloff 1987, 1996
Smith and Carlton, 1975
General Notes and Observations: Locations, abundances, unusual behaviors:
The aperture of Acanthina spirata has a distinctive tooth on the outer lip. Note the operculum and smooth columella. Photo by Dave Cowles, San Simeon, CA, 1995
Authors and Editors of Page:
Dave Cowles (2005): Created original page