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FAQs about Marine Snail Identification 2

Related Articles: GastropodsSea SlugsMollusksAbalone

Related FAQs: Snail ID 1, 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 24, Snail ID 25, Snail ID 26, & Marine Snails 1Marine Snails 2Marine Snails 3, Invertebrate ID, Snail Behavior, Snail Selection, Snail Compatibility, Snail Systems, Snail Feeding, Snail Disease, Snail Reproduction, MollusksSea SlugsAbalone

Would you take this tube as a snail? It is indeed a Vermetid mesogastropod. 

Snail and algae id Hello all( again!) For some reason  my snail pics never seemed to make it to you all- so I'll try sending them as attachments this time =P <They came through, not exactly sure what type of snail that is... perhaps an egg cowry, maybe even specifically Dentiovula dorsuosa, but hard to say for certain. More on those here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gastropo.htm > Also I am attaching a picture of something that came on my live rock. It is about 4" long, 2" tall, and has what appears to be tiny red fur like things upon it. Part is white-like a bleached coral,  and the whole thing was fairly stiff when I received it, but now is moving (swaying) with the current in the tank. <Looks like an algae of some type, possibly a Galaxaura species.> Any help would be very appreciated.   Best wishes to you all.
J Casey
<Cheers, J -- >

Hawaiian reference material. Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2003 01:10:17 +0000 Hi Bob, Hi Diana, <Hey John!> And a very Merry, belated Xmas to you both from John, Marty, and The Abbey!! I understand that you are preparing for a rapidly-approaching attack on the fishes and mollusks of Hawaii & have need for some type of reference matter on the shells there. Really not that much in print, but we have dug up a couple of items that might help. The large red book by Allison Kay is the only "Bible", so to speak, that has been published & was out in 1979, probably out of print these days. <Must be... the name doesn't bring up any shell books on Amazon.com!~> Anyway, it is quite detailed and comprehensive & is an extra copy that we happen to have, so there you are!! I will send this down to you first thing tomorrow morning and hope that it helps you out with all those wonderful shells that you are going to find. <Will gladly pay you for the copy... maybe in shells! Or what you like next I see you> Basically the same drill as Nuka Hiva, and you will quickly figure out the habitats of encountered mollusks as the trip progresses. Ferret out the good ones of course. Look out in the sand in deeper water for Goodwin's Harp Shell & that one will pay for your trip and put money in the bank to boot. <Will do John> If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask me & I'm here at Tideline all this week, in and out for deliveries, but not out of town on any overnighters. My very best regards, John P. <Thank you my friend. Happy New Year. Bob Fenner>

Unknown Critter 12/9/03 Hey there crew I got a problem here. about a month ago I noticed a odd looking creature on my LR. It is a snail like creature, it has a half shell on its back which is pink and white, it moves pretty fast moving around like a slug, <sounds like a Stomatellid... harmless as we know> now the weird part is its feeding mechanism, it looks just like a elephants trunk it feeds just like a vacuum cleaner its trunk is attached to the rock with another type of mechanism going up and down inside the trunk. <hmmm... perhaps not a Stomatellid if it has a proboscis> The shell is very small compared to the body which when it is on the move is almost a inch and a half in length. I wasn't to concerned until as of late because now it is growing pretty quickly and spots of my coralline are bare (not bleached) I believe it is eating the coralline because the patches that are missing are circular in appearance. <not the case here... a proboscis on a snail/gastropod is not "designed" to rasp coralline algae... instead look for another grazer (limpet, urchin) with short sturdy mouthparts (radula) to do this job> I will attach a couple pics of the monster if you could please identify him and if I should remove him or be looking for another culprit. <Yikes... these pics or over 5K kb and clogging our mailbox, mate. What's worse is that they are not clear at all. Please do resize all pics to small web-sized images (a few tens to a mere couple hundred kb max) and also please fill the frame with the subject (the snail is tiny here)> The other tank mates include 3 pepp shimp,1 Blood red cleaner,15 or so blue leg hermits,3 star shell snails and 10-15 Nass. snails. The only corals in the tank are a small frag of xenia and a small frogspawn which incidentally just started shrinking and spit out some brownish material (should I be concerned about this) <could simply be digestion or (worse) Zooxanthellae expulsion if stressed> also a small false percula clown. One last thing I believe I spotted a mantis shrimp also I was feeding on day and a very small shrimp came flying out of a small piece of grape macro and snatched a piece of flake. He was brown in color and appeared to look a lot like a mantis shrimp. <most mantis are small smasher species and are fairly harmless... some do not exceed 1" by much as adults and are very harmless in fact. Please read through our archives/Reef Invert book to learn the diffs between smashers and spearers and species IDs> Well sorry for the book I wrote here but your help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Jeremy from buffalo <wish I could have been more help... do send a better pic if you can. Best regards, Anthony>

Snail id- no luck in forums 12/10/03 I have a snail that I can not ID- I have searched (seemingly) everywhere and no luck. My digital camera is hiding from me so no pic to help.. It was sold an "Orange sand sifting snail". <a pic or very scientific description is necessary here my friend... alas, common names mean so little and are regionally variable if they are even valid> It is approx. 2.5" in length, approx .25" in diameter at the posterior end and approx .5 to .6 inches at it's widest point which is near the front), white with fairly bright orange splotches on it. The actual creature itself is white/tan with a noticeable proboscis. The shell is cone shaped, rounded posterior not remotely sharp but nevertheless it does form something of a point- if that makes sense). The anterior end also has no sharp edges, being somewhat rounded also. It is in a spiral shape with , I believe ~5 "turns". It remains mostly unseen- burying itself amidst the sand. sometimes skimming near the top with the proboscis poking out. Any help would be appreciated... Thanks! <please do browse our archives of articles and FAQs with pics (or Reef Invertebrates book) to at least put us in a ballpark re: Gastropod family. The description of a proboscis rules this chap out as an algae grazer and it may well be predatory. Could just as well be harmless like Nassarius too. A pic or family name is needed here at least my friend. Best regards, Anthony>

Limpet or Chiton? Well... a snail at least 11/26/03 Hi all, <howdy> I need some help to ID a gastropod. This little guy looks kind of like a limpet but has a darker shell that has me wondering if it is or not. <Hmmm... not the right limpet "shape" to be sure> Can you please help me to ID this one. In the pics for size reference the snail is on a 3/4" pvc cap inside a whiskey glass. Thanks for all you help, Ryan < a profile of the snail would make my ID a little more confident... but I wonder if this is not some kind of Stomatellid? Do look up pics of the genus Stomatella and compare. Best regards, Anthony>
Snail ID Nerites 11/14/03 howdy guys, <howdy> think you could help me out with this one? found a bunch (3 or 4) of these little snails hitchhiking on a nice bunch of star polyps I just placed in my tank. they appear to be nocturnal.    <pretty harmless likely... appear to be Nerites> I first though that they might be Heliacus, but after looking it up (in your book I might add)  they are the wrong shape and do not have a cone shaped door. <hmmm... the cone shaped door can be scary. Do watch closely> are they good guys or bad guys? <likely safe... but look out>
thanks -matt
Orange Frilly Limpet - Lucapina aegis Can you ID this? <yep> It's in a reef tank. Is it bad or good , Friend or foe.. <foe... as most limpets ultimately are. They are somewhat indiscriminate feeders on benthic life forms. The brighter colors are usually a giveaway (noxious and freely predating on desirable reef life - perhaps corals or sponges). Its best to remove this species and a tank without reef invertebrates. Best regards, Anthony>

Snail ID 11/4/03  I can imagine that getting these, "Do you know what this is" questions must be terribly old, so I apologize in advance, but (isn't there always a "but"?) I just can't find this snail.  <no worries... a pleasure>  It's small, probably in the neighborhood of 3mm or 4mm, and I only really see them at night. They are smooth, shiny and rounded.. They actually remind me of the little rounded snails that would come in with my freshwater plants. Their coloration tends to be white with tan to brown striping. The picture I'm sending along has one of them that is more brown than white (center of the  photo), but they all pretty much look just like it.. Sorry for the pink hue to the photo. My digital camera and I are barely on speaking terms. I realize that there are tons of different kinds of snails out there, but if any of you have an idea I'd greatly appreciate it. If anything, just whether or not it's safe for my saltwater tank so I can stop worrying about them doing something I won't appreciate to my coral.. Many Thanks, Oleta Fort Worth, Texas  <it is simply a Nerites. No worries, likely a harmless herbivore. Anthony> 

Snail ID 11/23/03 Hello Anthony. What is his name? <his name is Frank, but don't ever call him Frankie... he hates that. By the way, he's a predatory snail (could be corals, other snails... some kind of carnivore no doubt). Seems to be a Murex, although tough to say without a dorsal view of the shell. Not reef-safe by any definition, but perhaps fine for a fish only display. Best of luck :) Anthony>

Life form ID 10/29/03 Hello Friends, <howdy> Have found a very interesting life form in my reef. I haven't found anything quite like it when doing searches. Here are a few pictures, maybe you guys can shed some light on this for me. Thanks, Rob <it is the unmistakable egg mass of an Opisthobranch snail (sea slug). The parent is not likely to be a species that is viable for aquarium life. If it were, even the best of them are short lived naturally. Some caution here as many are predatory on desirable invertebrates and the majority are toxic. Look for a shell-less snail in your tank and ID it ASAP (look for tell-tale cerata/tassels on the back - a carnivore). We have extensive coverage of this family in our new book "Reef Invertebrates" and there is an excellent web site about: The Sea Slug forum. Great for IDs. Best regards, Anthony>

-Conch fish?- I got a question what are fighting conches I heard it on reef central I guess they suppose to clean your sand bed or something what are they fishes are some type of snail, <Fighting conchs (Strombus alatus) are a type of snail> can you please tell me what is the best sand bed cleaner that strictly stir up the sand for food. <There is no one best sand bed "stirrer", it is usually a combination and would depend on what you are trying to accomplish by stirring your sandbed.> and one more question I have a 65 reef tank my lighting is 175 metal halide 10k and two 50/50 power compact one set is blue and the other set is white and blue, (you know the twins bulbs) my question is how can I get my corals to show more color is it the lighting should I make both of the power compact set to all blue (actinic) <You could swap out the 50/50's for actinic lamps, it would definitely make a difference.> cause I notice on some tank the lighting is blue and their corals and mushroom have colorful glow to them please help thank you in advance..... <The color displayed will vary coral to coral, but the added actinic lighting would help. -Kevin>

Snail IDs, 9/19/03 Dear WWM Crew,   I went out collecting today for hermit crabs in the keys, right on the Ohio Missouri Channel I believe it was, right after the seven mile bridge, anyway, I don't do to much collecting, but I was in the area so I decided to pick some hermits up, The hermits I picked up were mostly in these black shells, now these black shells where everywhere and I do mean everywhere, I must have seen a million easy, and that's probably an under-estimate. Anyway so I got my hermits, trying to avoid these snails cause I don't know what they are, but non-the-less I ended up with a couple snails in my tank, I have taken a picture of this snail, and I would really appreciate an ID on this animal, This is a reef tank, so a quick answer would be awesome for me. On top of that snail, I did find another type of snail, a yellowish/gold-ish shell with black stripes, I also have a picture available of this snail, there weren't so many of these snails out there but I did bring a couple home, and I have them contained in another tank, an ID would make me really happy. Thanks a lot for the help....-Jeff <the black snail that the hermits have taken (same shell) is a Cerith/Cerithium... they are harmless and likely helpful scavengers... prolific too at times. Very cool. The gold snail is a Nerites... also harmless but often intertidal and may not survive more than a few weeks/months in the aquarium. You'll know this if they keep migrating to the top of the tank and waters edge. Do not collect more if so. Both of these snails and so much more are described in our new book Reef Invertebrates (Calfo/Fenner). Best regards, Anthony>

Snail ID: Nerites - 8/29/03 Hello~ howdy> I have been having a certain type of snail pop up all over my LR, and sometimes climbing the glass.  Needless to say, they are multiplying.  Should they be a concern for me?   <the picture is blurry... but it does appear to be a harmless Nerites. Great algae eaters... but their abundance indicates an abundance of food... you may have a nutrient problem: not enough water changes or large enough, poor protein skimming, etc> I don't think anything is eating them.  I have attached a PIC of one of the snails.  Please tell me if you recognize the snail, <his name is Frank... I wondered where he went> and what, if anything should be done about them. <he likes sopressata... chunks with cheese... not on a sandwich> Thanks in advance Steve <no worries... control the algae and you will control the snails. Anthony>

Bumble Bee Snails - 8/20/03 Dear WWM: My dad's 29 Gallon FOWLR w/ mushrooms has about 5 Bumble bee snails he bought a long time ago. When he put the few corals in the bumblebee snails seem to congregate under the rocks the corals are on. Well he wants them out of his tank.  <How come for why?>  In my 37G's Ecosystem 40 I have grape Caulerpa. <OK>  Do you think if I put the BB Snails in there they would eat the Caulerpa?  <Not likely. Bumble snails are more closely related to the Nassarius snail (in fact, I think they are) They will eat detritus and like foods (small parcels of meat and plant matter) off of sand grains and other surfaces. Not likely to eat macro algae at all.> Thanks, Great Site:  <Thank you - Paul>

Predatory Pyramid Snails? - 8/10/03 Hi guys. <howdy!> About two weeks ago I started to see little tiny snails in my reef tank. they are like a long cone shape, they are white and only about 1/8 of an inch long. They are always on my hair algae and now I seem to have hundreds. My LFS told me that they were a problem and might damage my clams. <true if they are Pyramidellid (AKA "Pyrams") snails. Do use this name to do a search of the Web for pics to compare to> What is your opinion, they seem to be eating the hair algae so I don't know what to do. <if you see them eating the algae, they may simply be another harmless gastropod... do seek a pic ID to confirm> Also my Goniopora has spawned 3 little babies, is this very common? <a few aquarists have enjoyed this success... but no, not common at all. A compliment to you! I wrote about this in my "Book of Coral Propagation" (www.readingtrees.com)> Thanks D <best regards, Anthony>

Snails without shells? Hello Crew. I have been curing some FIJI live rock in glass tank in my family room. Lo and behold I think I have seen two differing snails but they seem not to have the usual shells. In fact, they seem not to have any shells at all. Are my eyes deceiving me? <Could be... but there are numerous animals of this description> Also, one of them seemed to be 'sneezing' this morning. It was squiring short jets of what appeared to be micro sized bubbles held together in material that is the same color as the water. Are these hitch hikers alright and do they add to the biodiversity of my tank or should they be ruthlessly rooted out? <The former. No worries. Enjoy. Bob Fenner> Thanks for all you do.
Cheers, Fred.

Pyramidellid & Coral Eating Snails??? Hi guys, I was wondering if you could confirm two snail ID's for me. Recently I discovered several 1/4" long snails in my tank that resemble the description of coral eating snails (whelks).  <the second photo is a whelk or like mollusk... probably omnivorous, may be predatory...likely harmless but I would still remit it to the sump or refugium without corals> Also, I've just noticed a population explosion of A LOT of tiny snails which I fear may be Pyramidellids.  <the tiny black "snails" in the first photo are Cerith and are HIGHLY desirable detritivores! They breed easily and scavenge well. Please do share them with other aquarists and spread the love around> If they are indeed Pyramidellids, is the 6-line wrasse the only fish that is known to eat them, <nope... many/most wrasses in that genus will eat them... some other fishes too, but not always reef safe. Even a six-line is no guarantee. Giant clams need to be inspected regularly and Pyrams harvested manually (4-6 times yearly)> or would they serve as food for a mandarin as well?  <mandarin won't touch them... feeds on copepods and fine plankton> I would much prefer adding a mandarin then a 6-line. I've attached some pics to help in the ID. Thanks for all the help. <best regards, Anthony> More Pyramidellid & Coral Eating Snails? Thanks for quick reply Anthony. <Steven Pro here is afternoon.> Are Ceriths and Pyramidellids one and the same? <No> I've always heard that Ceriths are good and Pyramidellids are bad. <Correct> Are they just considered bad for clam keepers? <Ceriths are good for everybody. Pyramidellids are clam parasites (bad) and die without a clam host.> I don't have any clams at this time, and probably won't for a while (inadequate lighting and don't plan on upgrading soon). Again, good morning to ya and thanks for the quick help. <Have a nice day. -Steven Pro>

Snail ID correction 2/8/05 I believe snail identified as a Nerite might be a Collonista snail. They are common hitchhikers on live rock and good grazers. They are known to out- compete bigger snails. Usually nocturnal. This is the page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snailidfaq2.htm   <I think you may be correct. Unfortunately, snail ID is not easy. It requires a view of the operculum and very good references. Thanks! AdamC

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