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Overview

Comprehensive Description

The mangrove periwinkle, Littorina angulifera, is a common intertidal snail in mangrove forests of the southeast United States. The shell color of L. angulifera varies from bluish white, orange to dull yellow, reddish brown to grayish brown (Andrews 1994). The shell is comprised of 6 whorls, with the body whorl about half of the total height of the snail. Darker dashes on the ribs of the shell are often fused to form stripes on the body whorl. The early whorls around the base bear regularly-spaced vertical white spots below the channeled sutures.
  • Abbott, RT & PA Morris. 1995. A field guide to shells: Atlantic and Gulf coasts and the West Indies, 4th edition. Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston, MA. USA.
  • Abbott, RT. 1974. American seashells: the marine Mollusca of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. New York, NY. USA.
  • Andrade, SCS & VN Solferini. 2006. The influence of size on the radula of Littoraria angulifera (Gastropoda: Littlorinidae). Malacologia. 49: 1-5.
  • Andrews, J. 1994. A field guide to shells of the Florida coast. Gulf Publishing Co. Houston, Texas. USA. 182 pp.
  • Chaves, AMR. 2002. Entre o seco e o molhado, do costão ao manguezal: distribuição de gastrópodes fa família Littorinidae em gradients vertical e horizontal no litoral do estado de São Paulo. Master's Thesis. Universidade Estadual de Campinas. Brazil.
  • Gallagher, SB & GK Reid. 1979. Population dynamics and zonation in the periwinkle snail, Littorina angulifera, of the Tampa Bay, Florida region. Nautilus. 94: 162-178.
  • Kaplan, EH. 1988. A field guide to southeastern and Caribbean seashores: Cape Hatteras to the Gulf coast, Florida, and the Caribbean. Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston, MA. USA. 425 pp.
  • Kohlmeyer, J & B Bebout. 1986. On the occurrence of marine fungi in the diet of Littorina angulifera and observations on the behavior of the periwinkle. Mar. Ecol. 7: 333-343.
  • Merkt, RE & AM Ellison. 1998. Geographic and habitat-specific variation of Littoraria (Littorinopsis) angulifera (Lamarck, 1822). Malacologia. 40: 279-295.
  • Ruppert, EE & RD Barnes. Invertebrate zoology, 6th edition. Saunders College Publishing. Orlando, FL. USA. 1056 pp.
  • Tanaka, MO & RC Maia. 2006. Shell morphological variation of Littoraria angulifera among and within mangroves in NE Brazil. Hydrobiologia. 559: 193-202.
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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Distribution

The mangrove periwinkle can be found along the shores and spoil islands of the India River Lagoon on red mangrove branches and prop roots. Age, Size and Lifespan: The maximum age of L. angulifera is unknown, and the lifespan can vary with food availability and environmental factors. The maximum reported length for the mangrove periwinkle is about 3 cm (eg. Kaplan 1988).
  • Abbott, RT & PA Morris. 1995. A field guide to shells: Atlantic and Gulf coasts and the West Indies, 4th edition. Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston, MA. USA.
  • Abbott, RT. 1974. American seashells: the marine Mollusca of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. New York, NY. USA.
  • Andrade, SCS & VN Solferini. 2006. The influence of size on the radula of Littoraria angulifera (Gastropoda: Littlorinidae). Malacologia. 49: 1-5.
  • Andrews, J. 1994. A field guide to shells of the Florida coast. Gulf Publishing Co. Houston, Texas. USA. 182 pp.
  • Chaves, AMR. 2002. Entre o seco e o molhado, do costão ao manguezal: distribuição de gastrópodes fa família Littorinidae em gradients vertical e horizontal no litoral do estado de São Paulo. Master's Thesis. Universidade Estadual de Campinas. Brazil.
  • Gallagher, SB & GK Reid. 1979. Population dynamics and zonation in the periwinkle snail, Littorina angulifera, of the Tampa Bay, Florida region. Nautilus. 94: 162-178.
  • Kaplan, EH. 1988. A field guide to southeastern and Caribbean seashores: Cape Hatteras to the Gulf coast, Florida, and the Caribbean. Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston, MA. USA. 425 pp.
  • Kohlmeyer, J & B Bebout. 1986. On the occurrence of marine fungi in the diet of Littorina angulifera and observations on the behavior of the periwinkle. Mar. Ecol. 7: 333-343.
  • Merkt, RE & AM Ellison. 1998. Geographic and habitat-specific variation of Littoraria (Littorinopsis) angulifera (Lamarck, 1822). Malacologia. 40: 279-295.
  • Ruppert, EE & RD Barnes. Invertebrate zoology, 6th edition. Saunders College Publishing. Orlando, FL. USA. 1056 pp.
  • Tanaka, MO & RC Maia. 2006. Shell morphological variation of Littoraria angulifera among and within mangroves in NE Brazil. Hydrobiologia. 559: 193-202.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Physical Description

Look Alikes

Many of the species of littorinids common to the western Atlantic are found in the IRL, including: the marsh periwinkle, Littorina irrorata; slender periwinkle, L. angustior; lineolate periwinkle, L. lineolata; white-spot periwinkle, L. meleagris; and the zebra periwinkle, L. ziczac. All of these species share a similar shell shape and an intertidal distribution. The marsh periwinkle attains a shell length of about 3.2 cm, and is elongate conic in shape, longer than it is wide (Andrews 1994). Coloration of the shell is dull grayish white with tiny dashes of reddish brown on the ridges of the spiral. Eight to ten gradually increasing flat whorls comprise the shell, with the body whorl measuring about half of the total height. The aperture is oval with a sharp outer tip and regular grooves on the inside edge.The slender periwinkle is relatively small, reaching a length of about 0.8 cm (Abbott 1974). The upper whorls of the shell are marked with 6-9 spiral lines, the sides of the foot are mottled black and gray, and the operculum is mostly round in shape. The lineolate periwinkle reaches a length of about 1.2 to 2.5 cm, has a gray background color on the shell with oblique zigzag lines of dark brown, and an apex of reddish brown (Andrews 1994). The shell is composed of 6-8 gradually increasing whorls, with the body whorl spanning more than half of the total length, and the suture between whorls is well marked. The pear-shaped aperture has a sharp, thin outer lip meeting the body whorl at an acute angle. Males are smaller and more strongly sutured then females.The white-spot periwinkle is also small like the slender periwinkle, measuring about 0.8 cm in length (Abbott 1974). The shell has a pointed spire with a thin periostracum or organic covering. The aperture is reddish brown and the exterior of the shell is brown with large, irregular white spots, often arranged in spiral roles.The zebra periwinkle has a shell length of about 1.3 cm, and is whitish with dark brown or black wavy stripes (Andrews 1994). The aperture is small and oval, and the operculum is chitinous. This species is often confused with L. lineolata, but has a lighter colored shell with a narrower apical angle than the lineolate periwinkle. Regional Occurrence & Habitat Preference: The range of the mangrove periwinkle extends from Florida to Brazil, throughout the Caribbean and Bermuda (Abbot & Morris 1995, Tanaka & Maia 2006). The species is also found in the eastern Atlantic from Senegal to Angola (Merkt & Ellison 1998). As its common name implies, L. angulifera is a common inhabitant of mangrove forests, mainly above the water line on trunks and prop roots of the red mangrove, Rhizophora mangle (Kaplan 1988, Merkt & Ellison 1998).
  • Abbott, RT & PA Morris. 1995. A field guide to shells: Atlantic and Gulf coasts and the West Indies, 4th edition. Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston, MA. USA.
  • Abbott, RT. 1974. American seashells: the marine Mollusca of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. New York, NY. USA.
  • Andrade, SCS & VN Solferini. 2006. The influence of size on the radula of Littoraria angulifera (Gastropoda: Littlorinidae). Malacologia. 49: 1-5.
  • Andrews, J. 1994. A field guide to shells of the Florida coast. Gulf Publishing Co. Houston, Texas. USA. 182 pp.
  • Chaves, AMR. 2002. Entre o seco e o molhado, do costão ao manguezal: distribuição de gastrópodes fa família Littorinidae em gradients vertical e horizontal no litoral do estado de São Paulo. Master's Thesis. Universidade Estadual de Campinas. Brazil.
  • Gallagher, SB & GK Reid. 1979. Population dynamics and zonation in the periwinkle snail, Littorina angulifera, of the Tampa Bay, Florida region. Nautilus. 94: 162-178.
  • Kaplan, EH. 1988. A field guide to southeastern and Caribbean seashores: Cape Hatteras to the Gulf coast, Florida, and the Caribbean. Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston, MA. USA. 425 pp.
  • Kohlmeyer, J & B Bebout. 1986. On the occurrence of marine fungi in the diet of Littorina angulifera and observations on the behavior of the periwinkle. Mar. Ecol. 7: 333-343.
  • Merkt, RE & AM Ellison. 1998. Geographic and habitat-specific variation of Littoraria (Littorinopsis) angulifera (Lamarck, 1822). Malacologia. 40: 279-295.
  • Ruppert, EE & RD Barnes. Invertebrate zoology, 6th edition. Saunders College Publishing. Orlando, FL. USA. 1056 pp.
  • Tanaka, MO & RC Maia. 2006. Shell morphological variation of Littoraria angulifera among and within mangroves in NE Brazil. Hydrobiologia. 559: 193-202.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Ecology

Habitat

Belizean Coast Mangroves Habitat

This species is found in the Belizean coast mangroves ecoregion (part of the larger Mesoamerican Gulf-Caribbean mangroves ecoregion), extending along the Caribbean Coast from Guatemala, and encompassing the mangrove habitat along the shores of the Bahía de Annatique; this ecoregion continues along the Belizean coast up to the border with Mexico. The Belizean coast mangroves ecoregion includes the mainland coastal fringe, but is separate from the distinct ecoregion known as the Belizean reef mangroves which are separated from the mainland. This ecoregion includes the Monterrico Reserve in Guatemala, the estuarine reaches of the Monkey River and the Placencia Peninsula. The ecoregion includes the Burdon Canal Nature Reserve in Belize City, which reach contains mangrove forests and provides habitat for a gamut of avian species and threatened crocodiles.

Pygmy or scrub mangrove forests are found in certain reaches of the Belizean mangroves. In these associations individual plants seldom surpass a height of 150 centimetres, except in circumstances where the mangroves grow on depressions filled with mangrove peat. Many of the shrub-trees are over forty years old. In these pygmy mangrove areas, nutrients appear to be limiting factors, although high salinity and high calcareous substrates may be instrumental. Chief disturbance factors are due to hurricanes and lightning strikes, both capable of causing substantial mangrove treefall. In many cases a pronounced gap is formed by lightning strikes, but such forest gaps actually engender higher sapling regrowth, due to elevated sunlight levels and slightly diminished salinity in the gaps.

Chief mangrove tree species found in this ecoregion are White Mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa), Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), Black Mangrove (Avicennia germinans); the Button Mangrove (Conocarpus erectus) is a related tree associate. Red mangrove tends to occupy the more seaward niches, while Black mangrove tends to occupy the more upland niches. Other plant associates occurring in this ecoregion are Dragonsblood Tree (Pterocarpus officinalis), Guiana-chestnut (Pachira aquatica) and Golden Leatherfern (Acrostichum aureum).

In addition to hydrological stabilisation leading to overall permanence of the shallow sea bottom, the Belizean coastal zone mangrove roots and seagrass blades provides abundant nutrients and shelter for a gamut of juvenile marine organisms. A notable marine mammal found in the shallow seas offshore is the threatened West Indian Manatee (Trichecus manatus), who subsists on the rich Turtle Grass (Thalassia hemprichii) stands found on the shallow sea floor.

Wood borers are generally more damaging to the mangroves than leaf herbivores. The most damaging leaf herbivores to the mangrove foliage are Lepidoptera larvae. Other prominent herbivores present in the ecoregion include the gasteropod Littorina angulifera and the Mangrove Tree Crab, Aratus pisonii.

Many avian species from further north winter in the Belizean coast mangroves, which boast availability of freshwater inflow during the dry season. Example bird species within or visiting this ecoregion include the Yucatan Parrot (Amazona xantholora), , Yucatan Jay (Cyanocorax yucatanicus), Black Catbird (Dumetella glabrirostris) and the Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulfuratus)

Upland fauna of the ecoregion include paca (Agouti paca), coatimundi (Nasua narica),  Baird’s Tapir (Tapirus bairdii), with Black Howler Monkey (Alouatta caraya) occurring in the riverine mangroves in the Sarstoon-Temash National Park. The Mantled Howler Monkey (Alouatta palliata) can be observed along the mangrove fringes of the Monkey River mouth and other portions of this mangrove ecoregion.

Other aquatic reptiian species within the ecoregion include Morelet's Crocodile (Crocodylus moreletti), Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas), Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta), and Kemp’s Ridley (Lepidochelys kempi).

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Supplier: C. Michael Hogan

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Trophic Strategy

The mangrove periwinkle is herbivorous, grazing on algae and fungi (Kohlmeyer & Bebout 1986). The feeding structure, called a radula, varies in populations from different habitat types (Andrade & Solferini 2006). The radula is a belt of small teeth used to scrape food from hard surfaces (Ruppert & Barnes 1994).Predators: Few predators are documented for L. angulifera, but the snail is likely preyed upon by a variety of birds, fishes, large crabs and mammals.
  • Abbott, RT & PA Morris. 1995. A field guide to shells: Atlantic and Gulf coasts and the West Indies, 4th edition. Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston, MA. USA.
  • Abbott, RT. 1974. American seashells: the marine Mollusca of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. New York, NY. USA.
  • Andrade, SCS & VN Solferini. 2006. The influence of size on the radula of Littoraria angulifera (Gastropoda: Littlorinidae). Malacologia. 49: 1-5.
  • Andrews, J. 1994. A field guide to shells of the Florida coast. Gulf Publishing Co. Houston, Texas. USA. 182 pp.
  • Chaves, AMR. 2002. Entre o seco e o molhado, do costão ao manguezal: distribuição de gastrópodes fa família Littorinidae em gradients vertical e horizontal no litoral do estado de São Paulo. Master's Thesis. Universidade Estadual de Campinas. Brazil.
  • Gallagher, SB & GK Reid. 1979. Population dynamics and zonation in the periwinkle snail, Littorina angulifera, of the Tampa Bay, Florida region. Nautilus. 94: 162-178.
  • Kaplan, EH. 1988. A field guide to southeastern and Caribbean seashores: Cape Hatteras to the Gulf coast, Florida, and the Caribbean. Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston, MA. USA. 425 pp.
  • Kohlmeyer, J & B Bebout. 1986. On the occurrence of marine fungi in the diet of Littorina angulifera and observations on the behavior of the periwinkle. Mar. Ecol. 7: 333-343.
  • Merkt, RE & AM Ellison. 1998. Geographic and habitat-specific variation of Littoraria (Littorinopsis) angulifera (Lamarck, 1822). Malacologia. 40: 279-295.
  • Ruppert, EE & RD Barnes. Invertebrate zoology, 6th edition. Saunders College Publishing. Orlando, FL. USA. 1056 pp.
  • Tanaka, MO & RC Maia. 2006. Shell morphological variation of Littoraria angulifera among and within mangroves in NE Brazil. Hydrobiologia. 559: 193-202.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Associations

No known obligate associations exist for L. angulifera. However, mangrove periwinkles are associated with several organisms common to mangroves and other intertidal areas. For extensive lists of other species found in the habitats in which L. angulifera occurs, please refer to the "Habitats of the IRL" link at the left of this page.
  • Abbott, RT & PA Morris. 1995. A field guide to shells: Atlantic and Gulf coasts and the West Indies, 4th edition. Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston, MA. USA.
  • Abbott, RT. 1974. American seashells: the marine Mollusca of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. New York, NY. USA.
  • Andrade, SCS & VN Solferini. 2006. The influence of size on the radula of Littoraria angulifera (Gastropoda: Littlorinidae). Malacologia. 49: 1-5.
  • Andrews, J. 1994. A field guide to shells of the Florida coast. Gulf Publishing Co. Houston, Texas. USA. 182 pp.
  • Chaves, AMR. 2002. Entre o seco e o molhado, do costão ao manguezal: distribuição de gastrópodes fa família Littorinidae em gradients vertical e horizontal no litoral do estado de São Paulo. Master's Thesis. Universidade Estadual de Campinas. Brazil.
  • Gallagher, SB & GK Reid. 1979. Population dynamics and zonation in the periwinkle snail, Littorina angulifera, of the Tampa Bay, Florida region. Nautilus. 94: 162-178.
  • Kaplan, EH. 1988. A field guide to southeastern and Caribbean seashores: Cape Hatteras to the Gulf coast, Florida, and the Caribbean. Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston, MA. USA. 425 pp.
  • Kohlmeyer, J & B Bebout. 1986. On the occurrence of marine fungi in the diet of Littorina angulifera and observations on the behavior of the periwinkle. Mar. Ecol. 7: 333-343.
  • Merkt, RE & AM Ellison. 1998. Geographic and habitat-specific variation of Littoraria (Littorinopsis) angulifera (Lamarck, 1822). Malacologia. 40: 279-295.
  • Ruppert, EE & RD Barnes. Invertebrate zoology, 6th edition. Saunders College Publishing. Orlando, FL. USA. 1056 pp.
  • Tanaka, MO & RC Maia. 2006. Shell morphological variation of Littoraria angulifera among and within mangroves in NE Brazil. Hydrobiologia. 559: 193-202.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

Reproductive strategies are quite diverse within the Littorina genus. Some species release egg masses from with larvae hatch, others attach egg masses to hard substrata, and some brood their young until giving birth to larvae or juvenile snails (Ruppert & Barnes 1994). The mangrove periwinkle is considered ovoviviparous, internally brooding fertilized eggs and releasing planktonic larvae (Merkt & Ellison 1998, Tanaka & Maia 2006).
  • Abbott, RT & PA Morris. 1995. A field guide to shells: Atlantic and Gulf coasts and the West Indies, 4th edition. Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston, MA. USA.
  • Abbott, RT. 1974. American seashells: the marine Mollusca of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. New York, NY. USA.
  • Andrade, SCS & VN Solferini. 2006. The influence of size on the radula of Littoraria angulifera (Gastropoda: Littlorinidae). Malacologia. 49: 1-5.
  • Andrews, J. 1994. A field guide to shells of the Florida coast. Gulf Publishing Co. Houston, Texas. USA. 182 pp.
  • Chaves, AMR. 2002. Entre o seco e o molhado, do costão ao manguezal: distribuição de gastrópodes fa família Littorinidae em gradients vertical e horizontal no litoral do estado de São Paulo. Master's Thesis. Universidade Estadual de Campinas. Brazil.
  • Gallagher, SB & GK Reid. 1979. Population dynamics and zonation in the periwinkle snail, Littorina angulifera, of the Tampa Bay, Florida region. Nautilus. 94: 162-178.
  • Kaplan, EH. 1988. A field guide to southeastern and Caribbean seashores: Cape Hatteras to the Gulf coast, Florida, and the Caribbean. Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston, MA. USA. 425 pp.
  • Kohlmeyer, J & B Bebout. 1986. On the occurrence of marine fungi in the diet of Littorina angulifera and observations on the behavior of the periwinkle. Mar. Ecol. 7: 333-343.
  • Merkt, RE & AM Ellison. 1998. Geographic and habitat-specific variation of Littoraria (Littorinopsis) angulifera (Lamarck, 1822). Malacologia. 40: 279-295.
  • Ruppert, EE & RD Barnes. Invertebrate zoology, 6th edition. Saunders College Publishing. Orlando, FL. USA. 1056 pp.
  • Tanaka, MO & RC Maia. 2006. Shell morphological variation of Littoraria angulifera among and within mangroves in NE Brazil. Hydrobiologia. 559: 193-202.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Growth

Like many other mollusks, the mangrove periwinkle reproduces via a planktonic larva called a veliger (Kolipinski 1964). These larvae remain in the water column for 8-10 weeks until they reach the final stage, or pediveliger, at which time they search for a suitable location to settle and metamorphose into juvenile snails (Gallagher & Reid 1979).
  • Abbott, RT & PA Morris. 1995. A field guide to shells: Atlantic and Gulf coasts and the West Indies, 4th edition. Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston, MA. USA.
  • Abbott, RT. 1974. American seashells: the marine Mollusca of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. New York, NY. USA.
  • Andrade, SCS & VN Solferini. 2006. The influence of size on the radula of Littoraria angulifera (Gastropoda: Littlorinidae). Malacologia. 49: 1-5.
  • Andrews, J. 1994. A field guide to shells of the Florida coast. Gulf Publishing Co. Houston, Texas. USA. 182 pp.
  • Chaves, AMR. 2002. Entre o seco e o molhado, do costão ao manguezal: distribuição de gastrópodes fa família Littorinidae em gradients vertical e horizontal no litoral do estado de São Paulo. Master's Thesis. Universidade Estadual de Campinas. Brazil.
  • Gallagher, SB & GK Reid. 1979. Population dynamics and zonation in the periwinkle snail, Littorina angulifera, of the Tampa Bay, Florida region. Nautilus. 94: 162-178.
  • Kaplan, EH. 1988. A field guide to southeastern and Caribbean seashores: Cape Hatteras to the Gulf coast, Florida, and the Caribbean. Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston, MA. USA. 425 pp.
  • Kohlmeyer, J & B Bebout. 1986. On the occurrence of marine fungi in the diet of Littorina angulifera and observations on the behavior of the periwinkle. Mar. Ecol. 7: 333-343.
  • Merkt, RE & AM Ellison. 1998. Geographic and habitat-specific variation of Littoraria (Littorinopsis) angulifera (Lamarck, 1822). Malacologia. 40: 279-295.
  • Ruppert, EE & RD Barnes. Invertebrate zoology, 6th edition. Saunders College Publishing. Orlando, FL. USA. 1056 pp.
  • Tanaka, MO & RC Maia. 2006. Shell morphological variation of Littoraria angulifera among and within mangroves in NE Brazil. Hydrobiologia. 559: 193-202.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Default rating: 2.5 of 5

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