This species is native to the shores of the North Atlantic Ocean, including Hudson Bay, Baffin Island, Greenland, and the Barents Sea, south along the American East Coast to Chesapeake Bay, and along the European coast to the Straits of Gibraltar.
The shell in life often appears green with algae, but the shell itself can be white, red, or brown, sometimes with checkered lines. The shell has 4-5 whorls. The average size of the shell is 18 mm.
This species frequently lives in salt marshes. it can also be found in crevices of intertidal bedrock, in empty barnacle shells, and under rocks. Like many other periwinkles, this species can survive long exposures out of the water.
This snail is a herbivore which grazes on the surface of rocks and mud flats.