subtitle for littorine & relatives section of A SNAIL'S ODYSSEY

At latest count there are 5 indigenous species of Littorina winkles1 inhabiting the wave-splash areas of west-coast shores.  The largest is Littorina sitkana and the smallest is L. subrotundata, with 3 intermediate-sized species Littorina scutulata2, L. plena, and L. keenae. Two other Littorina species L. saxatilis3 and L. littorea are known from introductions from the Atlantic coast into the San Francisco Bay region but, at least for the former species, has limited distribution at present. Several populations of the latter species have recently been discovered on beaches in southern British Columbia, presenting a unique opportunity to study colonisation events from their inception.

NOTE1 “winkle” is a common shortened version of “periwinkle”.  References to “perwyncles” and “pennywinkles” in English writings date from the early 16th C.  Our west-coast species are too tiny to eat, but one or two of the Atlantic-coast species are quite large and tasty.  Winkle-pickers in Britain and other Atlantic-coast countries, including North America, have been practising their trade for centuries.  Some 19 species of Littorina are recorded from north Pacific and Atlantic oceans

NOTE2  the featured snail in the ODYSSEY is a member of this species

NOTE3 in 1993 researchers discovered a population of an Atlantic-coast species Littorina saxatilis in San Francisco Bay, California that seemed to be well established.  The probable method of introduction is thought to have been as incidental travellers with the masses of east-coast brown seaweeds Ascophyllum and Fucus used as packing for shipments of baitworms and/or lobsters from Maine.  The researchers note the discovery of 2 other littorinid species L. littorea and L. obtusata imported with baitworms into the San Francisco Bay area but add that, unlike L. saxatilis, neither appears to have established a permanent colony.  Carlton & Cohen 1998 Veliger 41: 333.

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drawing of littorine returning home after odyssey
© 2010 Thomas Carefoot

To learn about west-coast LITTORINES: select a topic from the LITTORINE menu at the top of the page

OR: play the ANIMATION of the snail returning to its home on the top of the shore

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

map for littorine part of A SNAIL'S ODYSSEY
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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.)

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

Family Batillariidae, including mud snails Batillaria and Ilyanassa

Family Epitoniidae, including wenteltraps (Epitonium)

Family Calyptraeidae, including a half dozen species of slipper limpets Crepidula, some introduced to the west coast along with shipments of Atlantic oysters

Family Vermetidae, including vermetid snails

Family Capulidae, including the hairy snail Trichotropis cancellata

Family Littorinidae (lit. “seashore” G.), including winkles (Littorina), lacunids (Lacuna)

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