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Biology/Natural History: This species is mainly a scavenger on dead flesh and dead algae, which it uses its long siphon to find. May be found in Enteroctopus dofleini middens consuming the scraps left from discarded octopus meals. It is a very active snail. When moving, a single muscular wave moves along the foot from front to back. They climb well, and often rear up on the back of the foot to feel for new substrate. A gland on the rear of the foot secretes a thick mucus strand which the animal can use to suspend itself in the water. Females attach vase-shaped capsules to rocks. Each capsule contains about 60 white eggs. The empty shells are often used by hermit crabs.

In a study on San Juan Island, Pernet (2007) found that different individuals of this species matured at very different sizes. Immature individuals were characterized by shells in which the outer aperture was thin and easily broken. These individuals were still growing. Mature individuals had outer apertures which were much thicker, and were growing little or not at all even if they were not as large as some other immature individuals which were still growing. Pernet concluded that this species has determinate growth. Exposure in the lab to effluent from Cancer productus did not affect the shell form or thickness, suggesting that the large range of sizes at maturity is not due to a response to predation by the crab.


Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 2.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

© Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory

Source: Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

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