Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology/Natural History: A most peculiar species because of its ability to vary so much in shape, color, and texture from one individuals to the next. This makes it very hard to key out. It is one of the most common intertidal whelks in the Pacific Northwest. Nucella lamellosa is a carnivore, feeding on acorn barnacles (photo) and mussels. After locating its prey the whelk uses its radula to scrape through the shell and eat out the soft flesh inside. This snail may be found congregating in large groups to breed in the spring and summer (photo). Their eggs are in oatlike capsules which are attached by stalks to the rocks (photo)

In the study by Sorte and Hofmann (2005), thermotolerance of different Nucella species along the coast was found to be correlated with the latitude range and tidal height each species occupies. N. ostrina, which occurs higher in the intertidal than does N. canaliculata in Oregon and does not extend as far north, had higher heat tolerance than did N. canaliculata. N. emarginata, which extends the farthest south, and N. ostrina, which lives higher in the intertidal, recovered more quickly from thermal exposure than did N. canaliculata and N. lamellosa, which live lower in the intertidal, and N. lima, which has a more northern range. These differences in heat tolerance may be related to HSP70 molecular chaperones.

The famous purple dye from the city of Tyre, that colored royal Roman robes, was made from a relative of Nucella. The snails were ground up in a stone mortar; different combinations made different shades of purple. The dye should be fixed with lemon juice as a mordant. The American species produce a much less brilliant purple than do the Mediterranean species.

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Source: Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

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Like all members of family Nucellidae, this species has a strong shell with a well-developed spire (not more than 7 whorls), a short siphonal notch or canal but no anal notch. The shell is not highly polished. The animal has a horny operculum. The shell of Nucella lamellosa grows up to 50 mm high; this species is highly variable in shape, size, and color. Some Nucella lamellosa have smooth shells while others have frills (axial lamellae) with spiral bands as well (photo). Color ranges from white, orange, to brown, or even rarely purple (see photos below). Some shells (especially in quiet areas) have large, frilly lamellae as axial sculpture, though these lamellae are often entirely absent (worn?--found in current or wave action). Spiral sculpture consists of 1 or 2 prominent ridges on each whorl. The whorls are flattened near the sutures, making them appear angled. Length up to 10 cm.
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Source: Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

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Distribution

Geographical Range: Nucella lamellosa is found from the Bering Strait to central California.

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Source: Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

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Physical Description

Look Alikes

How to Distinguish from Similar Species: Other Nucella have no frilly lamellae and rarely exceed 3 cm in length. Nucella ostrina has alternating large and small spiral ridges. N. canaliculata has many spiral ridges of similar size.
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Source: Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

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Ecology

Habitat

Depth range based on 34 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 20 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): -2 - 58
  Temperature range (°C): 8.675 - 10.151
  Nitrate (umol/L): 6.665 - 9.754
  Salinity (PPS): 31.235 - 31.893
  Oxygen (ml/l): 6.360 - 6.794
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.943 - 1.305
  Silicate (umol/l): 15.658 - 25.127

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): -2 - 58

Temperature range (°C): 8.675 - 10.151

Nitrate (umol/L): 6.665 - 9.754

Salinity (PPS): 31.235 - 31.893

Oxygen (ml/l): 6.360 - 6.794

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.943 - 1.305

Silicate (umol/l): 15.658 - 25.127
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Depth Range: Low intertidal to mid intertidal

Habitat: Rocky substrate, commonly found on mussel beds

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Source: Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Nucella lamellosa

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 137 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.  Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

GGGCTTGTTGGAACTGCTTTA---AGTCTTCTTATTCGAGCTGAGTTAGGGCAACCAGGAGCTTTACTTGGTGAC---GATCAATTATATAATGTTATTGTAACAGCACATGCTTTTGTTATAATTTTTTTTCTTGTAATACCTATAATAATTGGAGGATTTGGAAACTGACTAGTACCTTTAATA---TTAGGTGCTCCAGATATGGCTTTTCCACGACTTAATAATATAAGATTTTGGCTTTTGCCTCCTGCTTTATTACTTTTACTTTCTTCTGCTGCAGTAGAAAGTGGGGTAGGAACTGGATGAACAGTTTACCCTCCGTTAGCTGGTAATTTAGCTCATGCTGGTGGATCTGTAGATTTA---GCAATTTTTTCATTACATTTAGCAGGGGTTTCGTCTATTTTAGGAGCTGTAAATTTTATTACAACTATTATTAATATACGTTGACGAGGTATACAGTTTGAACGACTTCCTCTATTTGTGTGATCTGTAAAAATTACTGCTGTTTTACTTCTTTTATCTCTACCAGTCTTAGCAGGA---GCTATTACTATATTATTAACTGATCGAAATTTTAATACGGCTTTTTTTGAT
-- end --

Download FASTA File
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Nucella lamellosa

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 137
Specimens with Barcodes: 143
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Wikipedia

Nucella lamellosa

Nucella lamellosa is a species of sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Muricidae, the murex snails or rock snails.[1]

Contents

Description

Distribution

References

  1. ^ a b Nucella lamellosa (Gmelin, 1791).  Retrieved through: World Register of Marine Species on 24 April 2010.
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