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Periwinkle Snail

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Littorina planaxis
Periwinkle Snail


They are found on the coast from Alaska to Baja California.


They attach to docks, wooden pilings and rocky areas in bays and on shorelines.

Body Traits

They have a sharp structure in their mouth called a radula. It is rows of sharp, hooked teeth for scraping algal food off rocks. They can replace up to 7 rows of teeth in one day. They can close themselves into their shells using their tail to keep from drying out or protect themselves from predators. Their doorway out of their shell is called the operculum.


They travel up and down the rocks with the tide, crawling out of the tide pool at night and back in during the day. They hide at low tide in groups in cracks or crevices. They secrete a special mucus around the opening to their shell. This hardens, cementing them to the rocks. When they are hungry they eat away the hardened mucus and crawl around.


They scrape plant scum off the rocky surfaces with a special structure in their mouth called a radula.

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Once a year, males find a female for mating. Females lay their eggs in a mucus bundle in tide pools. The larvae hatch and are washed out to sea to grow.

Periwinkle Snail
Periwinkle Snail


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class:     Gastropoda
Order: Neotaenioglossa
Superfamily: Littorinoidea
Family: Littorinidae/Subfamily: Littorininae
Genus:     Littorina
Species: L. planaxis

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