Learn About Moon Snails

Moon snails are distinctive components of sand/mud substrata, noticeable not just because of their large size, but also because of their distinctively shaped egg collars. 

NOTE  it doesn’t take much imagination to figure out why these globular shells are called “moon” snails.  They are common inhabitants of intertidal and subtidal sandy areas.  They are harvested as food in some areas, but are reportedly not particularly tasty, which probably explains why they are still relatively common. One author, however, would probably take exception to this comment regarding taste. She says that a "delicious" broth can be made by steaming the meat in its own fluids and an edible, but tough, "piece of variant meat" can be produced by frying the animal alive in butter. Better still, "no ill effects...were felt from that consumption" referring, one assumes, to herself and not to the snail. As for the notion that the meat is poisonous, the author reminds us that west-coast First-Nations shell middens are often well populated with moon-snail shells. Kjerskog-Agersborg 1920 The Am Nat 54 (634): 414.

ANIMATION of snail meeting MOON SNAIL
© 2010 Thomas Carefoot

To learn about west-coast MOON SNAILS: select a topic from the Mollusca > Moon snail menu at the top of the page

OR: play the ANIMATION of the snail meeting the MOON SNAIL

OR, if you want to see other animations: follow the snail on its ODYSSEY by CLICKING on any X-marked invertebrate on the map

Phylum Mollusca (lit. “soft” or “shellfish” L.)

Class Gastropoda (lit. “stomach foot” G.), referring to the body structure of viscera lying overtop of the muscular foot

SubClass Orthogastropoda (lit. “straight gastropod” G.), referring not to the shape of the shell but to their evolutionary history

SuperOrder Caenogastropoda (lit. “new or recent  gastropod” G.)

Order Hypsogastropoda (lit. “high gastropod” G.)

SubOrder Littorinimorpha (lit. “seashore form” G.)

Family Naticidea (lit. “buttocks” L.), including moon snails Neverita (Euspira) (Polinices) lewisii

NOTE the genus name for moon-snail species has changed several times (the list above includes just the most recent names). For simplicity, and since it's hard to keep up with the changes, the genus name used in the ODYSSEY will be that used by the authors for any given study