An auger shell (Turritella communis)

NBN Interactive17-04-2008

Map accurate at time of writing. Visit NBN or OBIS to view current distribution

Researched byMichelle Carter Refereed byAdmin
AuthorityRisso, 1826
Other common names- Synonyms-

Summary

Description

The shell is a tall, slender, sharply pointed cone. There may be as many as 20 whorls, each bearing spiral ridges and grooves. The shell is brownish- yellow to white in colour and often with a lilac tinge on the base, and grows up to 3 cm in length and 1 cm wide. The shell aperture is small and squarish. The operculum is edged with pinnate bristles. The foot of the snail is small, the flesh buff with dark spots and streaks and there is white markings on the tentacles, siphon and foot.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Common around Britain and Ireland but not recorded from the south east coast of England.

Global distribution

Found in the Mediterranean, and from Norway to north Africa.

Habitat

Abundant on muddy sediments in shallow water, more or less buried but maintaining contact with the water. This species is slow moving and sits on the seabed filtering seawater for particles of food. It may be gregarious, occurring in large numbers. It can be found down to 200 m.

Depth range

-

Identifying features

  • Tall, slender cone shaped shell.
  • The shell is brownish -yellow to white in colour.
  • Grows up to 3 cm in length and 1 cm wide.
  • The shell aperture is small and square.
  • The snail has white markings on its tentacles, siphon and foot.

Additional information

Very large numbers of empty shells are often washed up on the shore.

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

Search on:

NBN WoRMS

Bibliography

  1. Fish, J.D. & Fish, S., 1996. A student's guide to the seashore. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  2. Gibson, R., Hextall, B. & Rogers, A., 2001. Photographic guide to the sea and seashore life of Britain and north-west Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  3. Graham, A., 1988. Molluscs: prosobranchs and pyramellid gastropods (2nd ed.). Leiden: E.J. Brill/Dr W. Backhuys. [Synopses of the British Fauna No. 2]

  4. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. (ed.) 1995b. Handbook of the marine fauna of North-West Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  5. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E. (ed.), 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  6. JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee), 1999. Marine Environment Resource Mapping And Information Database (MERMAID): Marine Nature Conservation Review Survey Database. [on-line] http://www.jncc.gov.uk/mermaid,

  7. NBN (National Biodiversity Network), 2002. National Biodiversity Network gateway. http://www.searchnbn.net, 2008-10-31

Citation

This review can be cited as:

Carter, M.C. 2008. Turritella communis An auger shell. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Available from: http://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/1950

Last Updated: 17/04/2008