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Sea Snails (Abalones, dogwinkles, periwinkles, and others)

Sea snails represent a large group of marine invertebrates, with a soft body that can be withdrawn into a one-piece, often spirally coiled, shell. Sea snails, including abalones, dogwinkles, periwinkles, whelks, and limpets, are important for many coastal cultures.

Sea snails include abalones, dogwinkles, periwinkles, whelks, and limpets, all belonging to a large mollusk group, called gastropods, with over 50,000 species of snails and slugs. Sea snails all have a soft body with no paired or jointed limb, a distinct head with tentacles, a toothed tongue, called radula, a flat creeping foot, and a one-piece shell in which the body can be withdrawn. Sea snails occupy variety of marine habitats, but most are slowing creeping along the substrate. Sea snails feed on a variety of things, including encrusted algal slim, seaweeds, and other live animals. Some carnivorous sea snails can even drill holes through shells to eat the inside. They have separated sexes and fertilized eggs develop through a series of larval stages.


Howes GJ, Chatfield JE: "Mollusks". In: The Encyclopedia of Underwater Life. Edited by Dawes ACJ: Oxford University Press; 2007.