Colorful Moonsnail (Naticarius canrena Linnaeus, 1758)

Colorful Moonsnail
Naticarius canrena Linnaeus, 1758

Colorful Moonsnail:
Well-Toned Curves

By Patricia B. Mitchell.

The Colorful Moonsnail is 1-2 inches tall, fairly thick, globular, and somewhat flattened at the apex. The surface of the gastropod shell is smooth and polished-looking. The color of a fresh specimen is variable, consisting of spiralling chestnut-colored bars alongside four spiralling white bands, with dark brown or purplish zigzag markings on a yellowish- or bluish-white background (except for the basal area of the shell, which is white).

The operculum (or “door”) of the living snail is thick, white, and calcareous with deep grooves on the exterior surface. The shell has about four whorls. The roundness of the large body whorl helps it earn its place as a member of the Moon Shell family.

Like other Moon Snails, the animal has a very large operculum and mantle. He is a voracious carnivore with the ability to drill a neat beveled hole through the shells of other mollusks. He then sucks up the soft tissue within.

Naticarius canrena lives in the sand in shallow water from the coast of North Carolina to Brazil. It may also be found on Bermuda beaches and on the coast of the West Indies.


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