Sea snail

Paludinella littorina

 

This sea snail is tiny, growing to a microscopic 2mm maximum size.  It also likes to live in caves and crevices and underneath rocks and shingle.  Being both so small and often hidden goes some way to explain why little is known about this animal.

The sea snail is found high up on sheltered coasts where the wave action and tidal currents are weak.  It lives in areas rarely covered by the rising tide and its range extends right up into, and above, the splash zone above the high water mark.  Sea snails are found in the shingle banks associated with saltmarshes, estuaries and coastal lagoons.

 

Other common names

Lagoon sea snail

 

European distribution

Primarily a Mediterranean species, the sea snail can also be found in the eastern Atlantic.  Its UK distribution is restricted to the south and west coasts between the Isle of Wight and the Isles of Scilly.  Its range extends as far north as the Bristol Channel, and it has been found at sites on the north coast of Devon and the coast of Pembrokeshire. The largest populations are found in Cornwall and the Scilly Isles.

 

Conservation status/need

  • Sea Snail FactListed as Rare in the British Red Data Book.
  • Protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
  • Coastal lagoons and saltmarshes in which the sea snails can be found are a UKBAP priority habitat. Lagoons and some saltmarshes are also listed on Annex I of the Habitats Directive.

 

Further information

Marine Life Information Network

World Register of Marine Species