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Biology/Natural History: Burrows in sand, leaving a plowed trail behind it (photo). The foot is wedge shaped to facilitate plowing (photo). While burrowing it raises its long siphon up through the sand as a snorkel. Found nearshore on fairly quiet, protected beaches and farther offshore on more exposed beaches. Predators include the seastars Pisaster brevispinus and Astropecten armatus, octopus, moon snails, and gulls. The snail digs or crawls rapidly or somersaults if touched by Pisaster brevispinus tube feet. Primarily found along the open coast rather than in protected waters such as Puget Sound. Most active at night, often move up and down the beach with the tide. Larger animals live higher on the beach than smaller ones do. May congregate in large clusters (photo). Probably omnivorous. Will eat kelp blades and live and dead animal material. May eat small detritus. Males find females by following their tracks, then glues himself temporarily to her shell. Mating takes up to 3 days. Egg capsules are about 0.5 mm, are deposited individually on small stones, shells, etc. Grow to 1.6 cm first year, 1-5 mm/year thereafter. Live 8-15 years. May be parasitized by trematode larvae (in the gonads--may castrate host). May contain high levels of heavy metals such as copper, lead, silver, cadmium, and zinc.

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© Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory

Source: Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

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