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FAQs about Marine Snail Egg Identification 2

Related Articles: Gastropods, Sea Slugs, Mollusks, Abalone,

Related FAQs: Snail Egg ID 1, Snail Egg ID 3, & Snail ID 1, Snail ID 2, Snail ID 3, Snail ID 4, Snail ID 5, Snail ID 6, Snail ID 7, Snail ID 8, Snail ID 9, Snail ID 10, Snail ID 11, Snail ID 12, Snail ID 13, Snail ID 14, Snail ID 15, Snail ID 16, Snail ID 17, Snail ID 18, Snail ID 19, Snail ID 20, Snail ID 21, Snail ID 22, Snail ID 23, & Marine Snails 1, Marine Snails 2, Marine Snails 3, Invertebrate ID, Snail Behavior, Snail Selection, Snail Compatibility, Snail Systems, Snail Feeding, Snail Disease, Snail Reproduction, Mollusks, Sea Slugs, Abalone,

Unidentified Egg Casings? (and the unknown worm) – 5/26/12
Hello, I hope you are doing well.
<Thanks Rhi, and back at you.  How may I help you today?>
I got up this morning to find 9 transparent "things" sticking out of the sand bed and I hope you can assist in their identification.
<I’ll certainly try.>
They appear to be shell casings
<Definitely egg capsules/casings of some sort.>
…from something, my question is, what?
<That’s a good question. What snail species do you currently have in stock?>
They are approximately an inch to an inch and a quarter in height
<That’s a sizeable capsule.>
…and appear to have a base made of sand. A photo of dubious quality is included.
<It looks good to me, thanks.>
I have a good deal of diversity in my reef tank, including many species of snails and some odd creatures I sent pictures of before. Sadly we weren't able to identify those
<Yep, I remember those and despite further research, I still don’t know what they are.  Unsolved ID’s like that really prey on my mind until solved.>
..and upon advice I tried to remove one that was irritating a Duncan colony with tweezers and all the "fluffy parts" at its base flew off and are now populating multiple areas of rock around the tank and irritating various other corals at night.
<Oh no, I’m so sorry!  That’s the downside of not knowing what sort of creature we’re dealing with.>
Since those appear to reproduce via some kind of cloning at the base I don't suppose the eggs belong to the unidentified worm-thing.
<Nope, I would seriously doubt it.>
However, I will include a photo of it with its "babies" that I took once the worm was removed, just for curiosity's sake. I really would love to know what they are.
<You and me both!  I’m going to do some more research, ask some people and see what I can find. It may take awhile, but if/when I get an answer, I’ll be sure to let you know.>
Thanks for your time,
<You’re very welcome.  Do let me know what snail species you currently have and we’ll figure out which one left those capsules.>
<Take care, Lynn Z>

Re: Unidentified Egg Casings? (and the unknown worm): Possible Babylonia Egg Capsules - 5/27/12
<Hello Rhi>
As you know, vendors of aquatic life are not the most accurate when it comes to labeling their "merchandise"
<Yes, unfortunately it’s not a priority for some.  It puts the onus on the consumer to beware and research before bringing any organism(s) home.>
… and I acquired my CUC from various places, but I will do my best to identify what I have in the tank now.
<Thanks, I appreciate it.>
Astrea snails (Astraea tecta)
<This has been reclassified as Lithopoma tectum but the old species name, Astraea tecta, is still widely used.  This is a broadcast spawner (eggs and sperm released into the water column), so it’s out of the running as far as producing egg capsules.>
Large Cerith snails (Cerithium sp.)
<Reproduction can vary with these but we can rule them out as well. Most that we see in the hobby leave either clear to translucent meandering ribbons dotted with eggs, or whitish, rope-like “snail trails” adhered to hard surfaces or sometimes anchored to, and strung across, seagrasses or macroalgae.>
Margarita snails (Margarites pupillus)
<These are broadcast spawners, so no capsules. They’re also a cooler-water species that doesn’t last long when exposed to the higher temperatures of reef systems.>
…tiny Nassarius snails (Nassarius sp.) - based on shell coloration there appears to be multiple types here
<Nope, no capsules here either.  They tend to deposit eggs in swaths and “trails” on hard surfaces.>
36 Caribbean Nerite snails (Nerita sp.)
<Nerites do produce capsules deposited in loose groupings, but they're typically low profile, white to cream-colored, and round to oval in shape.>
Stomatella varia
<These are broadcast spawners, so no capsules.>
2 huge "Orange spot Nassarius snails" (Babylonia formosae?) which now after looking up their scientific name am concerned are actually carnivorous whelks that killed rather than "cleaned up" my baby maxima clam that died recently. (The tank was laying fallow and so was being fed lightly due to dearth of fish)
<Yikes, yep Babylonia snails and bivalves are not a good combo – at least as far as the bivalves are concerned!  This species does however leave egg capsules that are typically adhered to a hard substrate.  Unfortunately I can’t find any photos for comparison.>
a couple of Turbo snails (Turbo fluctuosa)
<Turbo’s typically either broadcast spawn or release an egg mass, sometimes adhered to a surface, sometimes loose.>
The eggs are still present and unchanged in the tank and I look forward to hearing from you.
<Well, by process of elimination, the most likely candidate is the Babylonia snail.  It also makes sense because of the size (big snail - big capsules) but I’d feel a whole lot more confident if I could find a photo for confirmation.  If they are indeed from this snail, the young should begin to emerge after about 5 days and enter into a planktonic larval (”veliger”) stage that lasts around 8 - 10 days.  Unfortunately, the fact that they do go through a free-swimming phase limits their chance of survival as they are exposed to all manner of threat, from livestock as well as equipment.>
Thanks again for your time.
<You’re very welcome. Again, I’ll let you know if/when I’m able to give you an answer regarding the other worm-like critters.>
<Take care, Lynn Z>

Keyhole Limpets and Other Snails, repro., comp. -- 3/10/11
Hi Crew,
<Hello Sam, Lynn here today.>
I have a 24 gallon Aquapod. Among my critters is a pair of Keyhole limpets that I bought about 2 years ago. I now have a few dozen babies and am curious as to how they manage to reproduce.
<It varies, but typically they broadcast gametes (sperm and eggs) into the water column. Interestingly enough, some actually brood their young.>
I seem to find the babies in the most unlikely places like in my hang on skimmer.
<Yep, I can tell you from personal experience that they also like hang-on filters! Judging from the fact that these limpets reproduce successfully in home aquaria, they more than likely have a very short free-swimming larval stage. Many likely perish during this period due to equipment issues and predation. However, the lucky ones find sanctuary in the relative safe haven of skimmers, filters, fuges, and the like. There, they find an environment with sufficient food to entice them to settle and metamorphose into tiny replicas of their parents.>
They grow very slowly.
<Yes, they do -- or at least mine seemed to.>
My first set of babies are still about half the size of a split pea. Aside from the fact that they are very difficult to remove as compared to the average snail
<Heee! Hence the term 'clings like a limpet'!>
..they seem to be good algae eaters. For some reason one of the adults does bother one Blastomussa wellsi that I have.
<Funny you should mention that. I had the same experience with one of the limpets I had. I caught it munching on my favorite B. wellsi one morning and promptly banished it to the fuge!>
It almost destroyed it 3 times already but each time it recovered.
<That's the great thing about Blastomussa wellsi, in good conditions even a polyp that's been reduced to a near speck can regenerate itself.>
I now keep the Blasto on my crushed coral figuring the limpet will not like to pass over that and since then it has not harmed it.
<Good thinking>
I also have a few Strombus snails, the kind that lay these little round see thru packets of eggs.
<Are they the snails typically referred to as 'Strombus Grazers'? If so, they're more than likely Columbellids, aka 'Dove Snails'. They're wonderful little grazers that reproduce like rabbits. Please see the following link for more information and photos for comparison: http://bb.wetwebmedia.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=341 >
I used to have 6 adults but now have 2 plus 3 small ones. I still see many egg packets but it seems that very few make it.
<Something may be preying on them or perhaps there's just not enough food to go around.>
These things seem to go in cycles. I used to have hundreds of Stomatella snails and now am down to a few here and there.
<Don't you just love these little snails? Sadly, other critters love to pick at, and eat them, particularly peppermint shrimps.>
Just sharing,
<Thank you for your terrific observations!>
<Take care, Lynn Z>

White Spots: Possible Nerite Egg Capsules -- 3/9/11
<Hello there, Lynn here this evening.>
Our tank has been up and going for around 7 months. In the last 48 hours or less these white dots have appeared on my live rock. I have done several searches for them and asked the question on a couple of forums before bringing it to you guys. It started as 5 spots that I noticed on one rock. Last night I noticed a group of ten of them one the same rock. This afternoon I found say 50+ of them all over the tank. The tank is 180 gallon and I have these peppered all of the way across. I am at a total loss for what it might be. All of my water parameters are within normal limits. I enclosed a picture with some of the spots circled to help with the ID.
<By any chance do you keep Nerite snails? If so, then those are more than likely egg capsules. Nerites typically deposit loose groupings of oval to round, white to cream colored capsules on hard surfaces, and are often compared to sesame seeds. Each capsule contains a number of eggs that soon hatch into free-swimming larvae with, unfortunately, very little chance of survival. For more information and photos for comparison, please see the related FAQ's at this link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/SnailEggIDF1.htm?h=
More info here: http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2003/9/inverts >
Again thanks again so much guys this will be a great help to us.
<You're very welcome! By the way, if you don't have any resident Nerites, let me/us know what other snails you do have and we'll take it from there. Also, if you could get a close-up shot of one of the spots, that would be great! Take care, Lynn Z>

FOWLR test kit ?? 1/20/11
Hi there, hoping for an amazing day to you!!
<Hello Ingrid. Just waking up is amazing.>
I wanted to know from your advance-expert aquarist point of view, what is the best or top 3 precise-accurate Test Kits for a FOWLR salt water system.
<Well if you want the best, the LaMotte Test Kits would be my first choice, but rather pricey. Next to that, I like Salifert's kits followed by Seachem.>
And my 2nd question that has nothing to do with the last, I read your articles about Nudibranch eggs and I'm attaching 2 pictures that appear to be eggs, I just want to be sure they're eggs and my Nudibranch
are 2 Pacific Lettuce Slug (Tridachia crispate), and both left eggs.
<Pics are not resolved enough to even take a stab at it. Most point and shoot digital cameras have a macro feature on them usually indicated by a flower symbol. If you have one, try taking a few picks with that and our residential expert on the subject
(Lynn) can help you out.>
Thank You Very Much !
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Ingrid Leija
Follow-up Re: FOWLR Test Kit, Now: Sacoglossan Sea Slug Egg Ribbon -- 1/20/11
Hi again, James
<Hello Ingrid, Lynn here this evening on behalf of my good friend, James.>
I'm adding the pictures again; hopefully you can see it better and give me your opinion.
<Thank you! What I see in the photos is definitely in keeping with egg ribbons from the various 'Lettuce Sea Slugs' generally seen in the hobby. I'm not sure which species you have, but if your individuals were labeled as Pacific Lettuce Sea Slugs, they could actually be Elysia diomedea from the Eastern Pacific instead of Elysia/Tridachia crispata (an Atlantic/Caribbean species). It's not unusual for the two to be confused. Please see the following link for more information and photos (including egg ribbons) of Elysia diomedea: http://www.seaslugforum.net/showall/elysdiom
Elysia/Tridachia crispata information/photos: http://www.seaslugforum.net/showall/elyscris
Hope that helps!>
Thank you
<You're very welcome.>
Ingrid Leija
<Take care, Lynn Zurik>

Fish Compatibility Question Actually'¦ And Conch Eggs Too? -- 04/16/10
It's Chris K again
<<Indeed it is! [grin]>>
(I've tried to stay away, but I usually show up again like a bad penny).
<<Ah'¦no worries my friend>>
I felt like I won the lottery last time we spoke regarding the blue assessor and possibly being able to add it to my aquarium with my other fish.
<<Mmm yes, I remember>>
Just to refresh you
<<Thank you for this>>
I have a 90 gallon, with 20 gallon sump and refugium, 4 clowns (2 ocellaris and 2 black and white Percs), 1 yellow tang, 1 flame angel, 1 Sixline wrasse, 1 Firefish goby and 2 very small neon gobies (and a few small corals).
<<Ah yes'¦>>
I have discovered another blue fish and I would like to ask you about its compatibility.
It is an ORA tank raised Indigo Dottyback.
I stumbled across it today - it's gorgeous!
From what I am gathering I am afraid of two things - either it's going to be too mild of a fish to add at this point considering what I already have in the tank,
<<Always a possibility'¦ Like with the Assessor, it's my opinion the Sixline will be the biggest problem re compatibility issues, with the Flame a possible 'short-term' antagonist. And also like with the Assessor, removing these two for a week or so while the newcomer settles in can help 'though you may see a reversal of the situation with the Pseudochromis and the Wrasse upon reintroduction (it may be classed as 'mild mannered' as Dottybacks go 'but it is still a Dottyback)>>
OR, it will be best to keep it in a small group which may cause me to be overstocked.
<<While a group of these in a 'species specific' display would be stunning 'I certainly don't think there would be a problem with keeping a single specimen with a mixed group of fishes>>
What do you think?
<<I think I just told you'¦[grin]>>
Could it be better than a 50% chance?
<<It could well be a better 'risk' here than the Assessor, yes>>
Hoping for a great big "eureka" here....
<<Do I hear singing?>>
Also - I recently (2-3 weeks ago) purchased a conch - There was confusion as to whether it was a fighting conch or a queen conch
<<Hmm'¦a BIG difference, ultimately 'and either one arguably too big for a 90g>>
- however they charged me for a queen conch
<<But of course they did'¦>>
- .... regardless, lately it has been sitting on a certain rock and I believe laying eggs (I have attached a photo if you are able to confirm).
<<Yep, these are egg casings>>
If they are eggs, do they need a male to fertilize them
or is it possible that she was "pregnant" when I purchased her.
<<Considering the newness of the acquisition, this is likely the case here>>
Is there a chance that these could actually hatch?
<<Sure 'but don't get too excited. The larvae will be tiny (microscopic even) and planktonic 'I think it very, very unlikely any would survive the month or so in your display that it takes before they would settle out 'and even then they would likely fall prey to the Wrasse (and maybe Pseudochromis?) in short order>>
I am really not sure what to expect.
<<I would not 'expect' anything much here>>
Or if there is anything I should do to aid in their survival.
<<Unless you have the resources and equipment, and are prepared to institute a Conch breeding program, there's nothing 'to' do>>
Thanks again so much!!
<<Always a pleasure>>
And P.S. I am always inclined to follow up and let you know how things work out!
<<Most excellent'¦ Be chatting! Eric Russell>>

Re: Fish Compatibility Question Actually 'And Conch Eggs Too? Conch & Cuke sel. - 04/17/10
Yes! You hear singing - fortunately (for everyone else) there are no mountains near me or I would be singing from the top of them!
I wonder though... Why did no one at my second favorite LFS indicate that the conch I was so interested in would be too big for my aquarium?
<<Mmm well, can't say for sure not knowing them, but'¦ As for the conch, Strombus alatus needs a 100g+ system with more sand (4' deep or more) than rock for a happy lifetime'¦Strombus gigas will need likely three times this volume>>
Actually that's a rhetorical question - I realize that they want my 20 bucks.
-I read that conches can lay up to half a million eggs at a time - but it sounds like I am not going to be making my first million by selling baby conches for $2 a piece at the next frag swap (big sigh) :)
<<Yeah, I used to think I could finance my hobby by selling SPS frags locally 'if it were only that easy, eh?>>
Fortunately, I can take the bad news with the good - eventually I will need to get rid of the conch, so I am not planning on getting too attached. I was merely looking for something to keep my substrate nice and clean. I have gotten past touching crabs, snails, conches, shrimp... but I am not sure I am ready to handle the creepiness factor of a sea cucumber,
<<Some are actually quite good sand sifters/detritivores'¦but don't expect one to keep your substrate all 'clean and white'>>
and the dreaded "Cuke nuke" frightens me.
<<The more commonly available sand-sifting species (e.g. -- Holothuria hilla or Tiger Tail Sea Cucumber and Holothuria floridiana or Common Atlantic Sea Cucumber) pose only a small hazard re, in my opinion. I have kept these since the late eighties without incident>>
(In case I am being too subtle, (ha-ha) I am fishing for suggestions here - if you are so inclined,
<<One of the above mentioned Cukes, with some Nassarius and Cerith snails, and a Brittle Star>>
do feel free to tell me that "Cuke nukes" are over rated)
<<The potential is always there 'but I have even heard 'speculation' that in a captive system the toxicity of these creatures may even decline over time. At any rate, if the animal is not being 'attacked,' I think you have small reason for concern with the species mentioned>>
But on the bright side my Sixline wrasse is going to be fat and happy for a while and.... I think I am going to be getting a beautiful blue fish to complete my palette, which if memory serves, brings me to exactly what I was looking for to begin with! TA DAH!
<<Now how does that saying go'¦oh yeah'¦'Yes, Virginia [Chris!], there is a Santa Claus''¦>>
I plan to follow up with you to let you know how things go
- your wisdom has been invaluable and your patience with my unrelenting droning over a blue fish have been positively inexhaustible.
<<Has been my pleasure>>
I am expecting a good result - and I would like to be able to let you know that your efforts were not wasted!
<<If only one person ever reads/benefits from 'it is never wasted. Not to mention the opportunities provided to expand my own horizons>>
Thanks again - as always!
Chris K
<<Be chatting my friend! Eric Russell>>

Wendletrap OK with Lettered Olive Snails? With Caution - 4/13/10
<Hello, Lynn here today.>
I brought home some tiny (1/2 inch) Wendletrap (Epitonium humphreysii) shells
<These are beautiful snails but not recommended for systems with corals and/or anemones.>
..from the beach (TX gulf coast)
<Oh, lucky you. That's one of my favorite places to vacation.>
..today in a plastic container. There was a tiny bit of water in the bottom from washing them off.
<Uh-oh, I know where this is going.>
They were washed up dry with some debris on the beach
<Heeee! Is it seaweed season already?>
..so I mistakenly assumed they were empty or dead. I was wrong. There are a few that are still alive. Lucky me, right? The beach is a 90 min drive from here so returning them isn't an option. I want to know if it would be a mistake to introduce them in my tank.
<Well, there's always the possibility of adding some sort of 'uninvited' guest (pathogen, parasite, pollutant, etc.) to the system. Just how big a risk that is, I'm not sure. Bob, any thoughts on this? One thing I'd like to add is that Epitonium species apparently secrete a purple substance that has been listed as a toxin and/or anesthetizing agent. Unfortunately, I don't know how much/if any risk this presents to your livestock. If it's a toxin, the more water volume, the better (for dilution). Running carbon is also a good idea as a preventive measure.>
The shells are very beautiful
<They are indeed.>
..but I don't want to hurt my current residents.
<I can certainly understand that.>
I have a rather unique tank in that everything was collected in the wild. My tank is about a year old and running fine. The substrate is 2-3 inches of sand.
<If it's fine-grained, it would be better to have either 3' or more for a DSB or less than ½' to 1' for a shallow bed.>
There's not much in there, but everything is predatory. I have a Sergeant Major Damsel that is a year old, (very feisty)
<Oh yeah.>
..some kind of striped Killifish who is rather tiny and boring but he's a super cleaner, and about 5 Lettered Olive Snails. I have read that LOS's aren't good in a tank
<Just depends on what kind of tank you want.>
..but in my setup they're terrific!
<There you go!>
They're super efficient sand sifters and I've got nothing in the tank for them to harm. I feed them defrosted chopped salad shrimp about once a week and sometimes they get a treat of scallops which brings them all up out of the sand simultaneously. Watching them eat is really entertaining.
<I bet it is!>
They're even laying eggs lately, but that's another story...
<I'd love to know more.>
Once in a while the SM fish will peck at their snorkels (that's what I call them),
<That's an apt description. It's called a siphon, a structure common to predatory and/or scavenging snails that's used for respiration as well as food detection. As water is inhaled, it passes by chemoreceptors that allow the snail to 'taste' it for any signs of food.>
but they're not hurt by it.
Given what's in the tank, would the Wendletraps attack the LOS's?
<I doubt it. Wendletraps/Epitonium spp. feed on corals and anemones, including Aiptasia and Heteractis malu (depending on the snail specie). Also, some species don't actually feed on the tissue, but instead consume the mucus.>
If the LOS's would attack the Wendletraps I don't think I would mind too much. Just more food for them.
<It's possible that they may well go after the Wendletraps, especially if they're hungry/aggressive enough.>
Also, I couldn't find anything on this site or the web about whether they would be on top or underneath the sand.
<They'd be on top.>
And if they'd climb the glass and whether they'd be OK in the air and trying to get out. I have cats. I don't want to find Wendletraps in my bed one morning. :-)
<Heeeee! You should be fine. Wendletraps sometimes end up on the beach as a result of a storm, or unusually high tide, but that's about it. The same cannot be said for Nerites though. If you decide at some point to try some of these, beware. I can tell you from personal experience that they have an unfortunate tendency to go on 'walkabout' and end up as cat toys!>
Thanks for your advice and the great site!
<You're very welcome and thank you!>
The search feature isn't working for me, not sure why,
<Oops, sorry about that. I just checked and it seems okay but do let us know if you continue having problems.>
..but I skimmed all the snail pages looking for anything on Wendletraps and couldn't find anything. Plus I doubt there's another person with LOS's!
<There have been a few, but we mostly discourage them for mixed reef systems because of their predatory nature and possible threat to beneficial DSB fauna.>
<You're welcome! Take care, Lynn Z>

Re: Wendletrap OK with Lettered Olive Snails? With Caution. Also, Info re: Olive Snail Reproduction - 4/14/10
Hi Lynn,
<<Hi Amy>>
Thanks so much for your reply and information.
<<You're very welcome.>>
<Is it seaweed season already?>
Not yet. Although some kind of vegetation is washing up here and there. It's little 1 inch brown segments. I'm finding them in 6 foot wide patterns, as if a plant has disintegrated its pieces washed up.
What's mostly washing up right now though are jellies.
I was there (Surfside Beach, TX, south of Galveston), a couple weeks ago and there were tons of cannonball jellies.
<<It's amazing now numerous they can be at times.>>
Yesterday some of those were still there, but now the man o' wars are coming in.
Peak season for the Sargassum seaweed is later in the summer months.
<<It seems like that's what I remember from being a kid but for some reason, the last few times we've been to Port Aransas in early May, it's been all over the place.>>
That's when we find some really cool specimens of marine life to look at!
<<Oh, definitely!>>
Funny how much life people walk right over on the beach and never even know it's there!
We've found crabs, shrimp, Nudibranchs, anemones, and below the floating clumps of it, before it beaches itself, are beautiful juvenile trigger fish, tons of juvenile Sergeant Majors, and even Sargassum Fish!
<<Neat! Sometimes you can find the little floating purple Janthina sp. snails that eat Man-O'-Wars tangled in there as well, or the lightweight little Spirula spp./'Ram's Horn' snails.>>
We found several other species of fish I wouldn't want to name because I don't know for certain that I identified them properly. But it's like a floating reef!
<<Yep, those floating mats become little ecosystems with all sorts of critters living within and around them.>>
Anyway... I'm rambling. It's a favorite subject of mine and I could go on forever!
<<Sounds like we're two peas in a pod then!>>
<Epitonium species apparently secrete a purple substance that has been listed as a toxin and/or anesthetizing agent. Unfortunately, I don't know how much/if any risk this presents to your livestock.>
I've seen a little bit of a reddish/purple tint on the tip end of a few of the snails. If that's the volume of their toxin capabilities it's minute, but thanks for the warning and I'll keep a sharp eye out.
<<Yep, it's always best to be forewarned.>>
<Running carbon is also a good idea as a preventive measure.>
Got that covered!
<If it's fine-grained, it would be better to have either 3' or more for a DSB or less than ½' to 1' for a shallow bed.>
The Sergeant Major Fish will fan the bottom and make deep depressions in one side, and a big pile on the other side, like he's creating a hidey hole for himself. It's cute so I quit trying to fix it. He's apparently more comfortable like that. One side is 1" and the other is well over 3". My sand does create bubbles so I read that's a good thing.
Re: my Lettered Olive Snails...
They're even laying eggs lately, but that's another story...
<I'd love to know more.>
One night I went to the tank to feed the fish and turn the light off for the evening, and there were tiny (1mm) translucent disks everywhere, and millions of dots that I can't describe because they were so small. It was like a heavy snowfall!
My fish were chowing down! I took photos of it because I didn't know if I'd ever see it again and at the time didn't really know for sure what was happening.
<<I'm so glad you got photos! You did indeed witness a spawn.>>
I looked it up on your site and read about it later. I never saw anything on top of the sand, on the glass, but it could be that they laid the eggs on top of the sand and either the SM fish stirred them up, or the water flow from the filter output did it.
<<Nope, the eggs actually do float. In the wild, they rise to the surface and drift about on the current before hatching into a free-swimming planktonic form called a veliger.>>
Well, within a couple hours it was all over. Half eaten, half sucked up in the filter. So I wanted to see if any would survive so I left that filter in for as long as I could, and checked in there with a flashlight, but no luck. So then about a month later, it happened again. This time right before my eyes!
I was staring at the tank, noticing that a couple snails were interacting under the sand. I could see it actually undulating. The thought crossed my mind that they were procreating... but I thought nahhh... can't be. Sure enough, 5 minutes later one comes to the surface and the little circles & dots erupted into the water. There weren't as many that time, but it was still a cool show.
<<Terrific observations!>>
The snail went right back under the sand so I didn't even get to see from where in their anatomy they came from. This time I have a brand new filter in there so I hope some will have time to grow. We'll see. I think it would be neat to see one as a baby.
<<It certainly would. From what I've read, they go through a short veliger stage before settling to the substrate and metamorphosing into crawling snails. What I'm unsure of is whether the veliger stage is a feeding or non-feeding one. The young stand a better chance if it's non-feeding.>>
In all the internet searches I've done, I have never seen a baby Lettered Olive Snail.
<<Neither have I.>>
A couple of the ones I have are shorter than the others, about 1 inch, vs. the 2 inch older ones, but they're still adults with many layers to their spiral shells. Is there any way to tell how old they are?
<<Not that I know of.>>
<Wendletraps/Epitonium spp. feed on corals and anemones, including Aiptasia and Heteractis malu (depending on the snail specie). Also, some species don't actually feed on the tissue, but instead consume the mucus.>
What would you recommend I feed them then?
<<The best thing would be what they eat in the wild, which is most likely an anemone of some sort, but I don't know which specie(s). If you perchance have any Aiptasia, I'd watch for declining numbers. In lieu of that, I'd try various meaty foods on hand.>>
I have some cubes of frozen sea urchin, but my fish won't eat it
<<Can't say I blame them. I'm not a big fan myself.>>
..and if it doesn't get consumed it dirties up the water and then sits in the filter. So I don't want to experiment with it if I don't have to.
<<I wouldn't, since it's so messy.>>
Also wondering if they would eat the shrimp that my LOS's eat?
<<It never hurts to try. I'd offer a variety of foods and see what happens. You might also want to try placing the food up on the rocks (near the Wendletraps) so they won't get overrun by the Olive snails in the sand. If the fish go after the food on the rocks, you can try feeding at night instead.>>
They'll die if they don't have something. Although they're tiny so I don't know how long they'll go between meals, do you?
<<I don't. Some organisms (various Cukes, stars, anemones, etc.) can take a surprisingly long time to succumb to starvation, but unfortunately, I just don't know how long it would take for a snail.>>
So tonight after I got your response, I added them to the tank and they've been in there for a few hours now. So far so good! No LOS siphons. So they must not smell/taste like food yet.
<<Yep. If/when one starts ailing though, they'll be on it. Oliva sayana/Lettered Olive snails have no problem getting through the shells of small clams so I doubt that a Wendletrap's shell would pose much challenge. They're usually pretty thin/lightweight.>>
My fish checked them out but don't seem too interested. The SM did pluck one off the glass but he's ok. They look like they have better footing on the oyster shells I have in there, than in the sand. No traction in the sand I guess.
<<Likely so, yes.>>
I'll let you know if it's a success or if they become food.
<<Please do.>>
Oh, one more question... about the LOS's digestion... I've always been curious about what part of the anatomy this is: When they come up for food, let's say a piece of shrimp, they cover it with their body, head first, but then tuck it underneath in this pouch kind of thing, and then go back down into the sand with it dragging behind. Is that pouch just for storage, or is it their stomach? It's hard to tell from looking at diagrams.
<<It's actually the anterior portion of the foot called the propodium. It's adapted for burrowing, propelling the snail forward, and for trapping prey/food items. Once the snail has the food trapped, it takes it back under the sand so that it can eat at its leisure. Apparently this is accomplished thanks to a radula (a many-toothed tongue-like organ) and the release of fluids into the animal that break down the tissue.>>
Attached is a photo I took of the first LOS egg event where you can see the translucent circles, and the dots, and one of the LOS's eating a piece of shrimp.
<<I see them in the follow-up message, thanks!>>
<<Thank you!>>
<<Take care, Lynn Z>>
Follow-up Re: Wendletrap OK with Lettered Olive Snails? With Caution. Also, Info re: Olive Snail Reproduction - 4/14/10
<Hi Amy>
Oops, I forgot to attach the two photos mentioned in my previous reply.
<No problem. Thanks for sending them along, they're terrific! Take care, Lynn Z>

Something Growing on My Rock? Snail Egg Casings -- 4/11/10
<Hello Bill, Lynn here today.>
I have a 90 gal salt tank 1 large lion-fish, 1 large eel (yellow with black dots), 1 large black pointy sea urchin, 4 conch snails,
<Do you know what variety/species?>
..many Mexican turbo snails, 1 brittle starfish, 1 chocolate starfish, about 80lbs of rock, water tests good most of the time.
<Need to aim for all of the time!>
I use a 1200 gph pump with overflow to sump containing miracle mud and mangroves and a canister filter and turbo twist UV light and a water chiller for temp with average 78 degrees. Can you identify what these things are growing off my rock see picture!
<Yep, they're snail egg casings, possibly left by a Melongenid (Family Melongenidae), which includes species commonly referred to as Conchs and Whelks. The casings you have are definitely not from a Fighting Conch (Strombus alatus or Strombus pugilis), or a Queen Conch (Lobatus/Strombus gigas), all of which are in the Family Strombidae. Their egg masses resemble an amorphous tangle of gelatinous string embedded with sand. Please see the following links for examples:
Strombus alatus (aka the Florida Fighting Conch): http://www.jaxshells.org/1562anne.htm
Strombus pugilis (aka the West Indian Fighting Conch): http://www.jaxshells.org/1540anne.htm Here's an example of a Melongenid's egg casings, specifically Melongena corona (aka the Crown Conch). They're a bit more rounded than the ones you have, but you can see the similarity (and they do vary): http://www.jaxshells.org/mcegg3.htm
Here's another Melongenid example, the Channeled Whelk (Busycotypus canaliculatus). Busycotypus/Busycon species' casings are similar but usually have a bit more surface texture (not as smooth): http://www.turtlejournal.com/?m=201002&paged=2
By the way, it looks like you have a nice little population of beneficial Collonista snails, aka 'Mini-Turbos', roaming the rocks! You can find more information on these at WWM. Just enter Collonista in the Google search engine: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Googlesearch.htm >
Thanks Bill V
<You're very welcome. Take care, Lynn Zurik>

Re: Something Growing on My Rock? Snail Egg Casings -- 4/12/10
<Hi Bill>
Thank You !!
<You're welcome! Lynn Z>

Unknown Thing Growing on Glass: Snail Egg Capsule -- 3/14/10
Dear Crew,
<Hello Justin, Lynn here this evening.>
Can you guys help me out with what this is?
<Yes, it's a neat little egg capsule that looks very much like those left by Nerite snails. They're typically white (or whitish), oval to round in shape, around 3mm or so in length, and deposited either singly or in groupings on hard surfaces.>
They look like eggs of some sort, but I have never seen anything like it. They are quite small, a little larger than the end of a ball point pen.
<Since you said 'they', I'm guessing that you mean the individual eggs inside, not the capsule itself. If that's the case, then it's consistent with Nerite capsules/eggs.>
I tried my best with the macro lens, but this is the best I could get.
<You did very well, thank you! For more information/photo, please see the following link: http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/sept2003/invert.htm
By the way, if you do not have any Nerite snails in residence, do send along a list of what snails you have and we'll see if we can't figure out who the culprit is!>
Thanks all
<You're very welcome.>
<Take care, LynnZ>

Re: Unknown Thing Growing on Glass: Snail Egg Capsule, Nerite -- 3/14/10
Thanks LynnZ,
<It was a pleasure, Justin.>
Actually though the capsules themselves are only about the size of the end of a ballpoint pen.
<That's pretty small but not beyond the realm of possibility. The Nerite egg capsules commonly reported to us tend to be larger, but they can vary according to species. For example, Nerita tessellata (aka the Checkered Nerite) from Florida reportedly has capsules that are only about 1mm in length. Please see the following link for more information/comparison: http://www.sms.si.edu/irLspec/Nerita_tessel.htm >
I do have 3 Nerite snails left in the tank,
<I believe we have a winner!>
..some Trochus,
<It wouldn't be these snails. They're broadcast spawners. That is, they release gametes (eggs/sperm) directly into the water column (no egg capsules).>
..and I seem to have a breeding colony of Elephant snails as well
<I'm guessing you don't mean the giant African land snail (genus Achatina)! That's the problem with common names; they're common as opposed to specific. Sorry to give you a hard time but I just couldn't resist. I blame it on losing an hour of sleep last night to the Daylight Savings Time switch. I really need to move to Hawaii, where they don't mess with the time twice a year! Anyway, back on topic, the terms 'Elephant snail' and 'Elephant slug', are also used in reference to Scutus spp. snails (black, slug-like snails in the family Fissurellidae). If that's what you have, then we can rule them out as well. Like the Trochus snails mentioned above, they're spawners. See this link for more information/photos: http://www.seaslugforum.net/showall/scutus >
..(I say this because every few weeks it seems as if I find another small one (1/4" or so) crawling along the glass.
<Neat! Apparently, their survival rate in captivity is aided by the fact that they go through a non-feeding, planktonic, larval/'veliger' stage before metamorphosing into crawlers. Non-feeding veligers tend to have shorter planktonic stages than those that need to feed. The advantages are two-fold. First of all, less time in the water column equates to less chance of becoming food for fish, corals, etc., or perishing within/as a result of pumps, filters, etc.. Also, the fact that they don't need to feed gives them a distinct advantage over those that require specific planktonic foods (that may not be available in a captive system).>
It seems as I might have some pyramid snails attacking my other snails though, since they have these tiny white conical shaped snails hitching a ride, and starting to attach around the shell opening by the foot.
<Hmmm, are the snails long, slender, and mobile, or short/squat and sessile? If they're long, slender and mobile, you're right, they're most likely 'Pyrams' (family Pyramidellidae) and you'll need to get rid of them (see WWM re: methods). The fact that they're gathered around the foot/opening is typical of these pests. If the snails you're seeing are short, squat and sessile, they could be Hipponicids (aka 'Hoof snails'). These are roughly conical, Limpet-like snails that begin life as mobile crawlers, but eventually become sessile; attaching themselves to hard surfaces (including snail shells). Luckily, they don't actually prey on the snails they're attached to, but it's possible that as they increase in size, they could inhibit the snail's ability to move around and/or feed. Here's a link with some terrific photos for comparison: http://www.conchology.be/?t=65&family=HIPPONICIDAE
Hipponicid on a snail shell (see the FAQ titled 'Mollusk Identification - Hipponicids 06/20/08'): http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snailid16.htm >
What a pain it is to deal with that....darn pests!!
<Yes, indeed!>
Other than that, that would be it. Thanks again for the help, I appreciate it.
<You're very welcome, please let me/us know if there's anything else we can do for you.>
<Take care, LynnZ>

What Are These? Egg Capsules -- 11/29/09
Greetings to you at WWM!
<Woo-hoo and greetings to you too, Jamie! Lynn here this afternoon.>
I tried to find this "thing" on WWM and did not have much luck. What are these?
<Egg capsules.>
I've just emptied my tank of fishes due to ich and today I saw these on my glass! Scary!
<Nah, they're neat!>
I tried to look for them at other places in the tank but these are the only ones that I can see. I imagine that I wouldn't be able to see them if they were on anything else but glass. I guess in a way that I'm lucky that they are where they're at! They look like some type of eggs or crustaceans, I hope it's not another parasite!
<Nope, they look like snail egg capsules to me. By any chance, do you have any Columbellids, aka dove snails in residence? They're small, harmless/beneficial grazers of film algae, etc., in the family Columbellidae. Please see the following link for photos and more information:
http://bb.wetwebmedia.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=341 . By the way, mine come out of the proverbial woodwork at night to graze on the glass, so if you don't see any during the day, be sure to take another look after the lights go out. If you don't have any of these snails, please let me know what kind (if any) you do have, along with the size of the individual capsules, and we'll see if we can't solve this mystery.>
Do I need to do something to the DT to treat for these things?
<Nope, let's see if we can't first figure out what left these on the glass. Worse case scenario, if they're from a snail you don't want, you can scrape the capsules off and suction them out. After that, it's a matter of locating and removing the snails.>
It's a 225 gallon reef tank sans fishes.
<Nice size>
I've enclosed a photo.
<Nice photo!>
Thanks So Much!
<You're very welcome!>
Jamie Barclay
<Take care, Lynn Zurik>

Re: What Are These? Egg Capsules -- 11/29/09
<Hello, Jamie>
I actually like these snails very much. They came FREE with my live rocks!
<Love it when that happens!>
Thank you for sending the link to the pictures, I have one grazing on the back wall as we speak.
<You're very welcome. Columbellids are terrific little snails.>
I had sent another e-mail a day ago but had no response yet. I thought WWM was "resting" over the weekend, but seeing that YOU are here...I've copied it and pasted it here. I hope you don't mind giving me your thoughts on this!
<I'd love to but I'm going to instead leave it in Chris's far more capable hands!>
Thanks again Lynn!
<It was my pleasure!>
[?] I'm glad to see another woman who's into the hobby!
<We've got plenty of company!>
Jamie Barclay
<Take care, LynnZ>
Circles of Ribbon-Like Sand: Likely Egg Collar - 9/8/08 <Hi Gerry, Lynn here this morning.> Over the last couple of months these circles of ribbon-like sand appear in my tank. They appear in different locations each time. The last time they appeared was 3 weeks ago there were 2 of them. I removed them when they appeared and took these pictures. Today I have noticed a new one in my tank. Any idea what is making this? <They look very much like what's commonly called a sand or egg collar, a combination of mucus, sand grains, and eggs produced by snails in the family Naticidae (commonly known as Moon snails). Do you have any of these in your system? Here are some examples of these egg masses for comparison: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2288/2250226721_f350b8a92a_o.jpg  http://jellyfishinthesea.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/img_4401.jpg  http://www.manandmollusc.net/Mystery_shell_pages/mystery_shell_steve.html > Thanks, Gerry
<You're very welcome, Gerry. Take care, -Lynn>

Re: Circles of Ribbon-Like Sand: Likely Egg Collar - 9/9/08 <Hi Gerry> Yes, I believe that I have. <Mystery solved!> Thanks, you have been a great help. Gerry <You're very welcome Gerry, it was my pleasure. Take care, -Lynn>

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