26 September 2011

Violet Sea Snail at Whiteford

Yesterday Veronica Shenston showed me the shell of a Violet Sea Snail (Janthina janthina) that she picked up on Whiteford beach on 30th July this year (the larger one shown below). At the time a few other specimens had been found in Cornwall, but strandings do appear to be quite a rare event. Veronica found the smaller of the two shells on a previous occasion and it would be interesting to find out if anyone else has discovered this species on our shores.
Violet Sea Snails are warm-water animals that float around the oceans attached to bubble rafts they make out of chitin and prey on jellyfish, particularly by-the-wind-sailors (Velella velella). I'd guess therefore, are more likely to be found during mass strandings of these. I forgot to ask Veronica if she found any at the same time?

7 comments:

xleah couchx said...

these snails are in aberavon sanddunes i have only seen about 2 or three of these, i didnt know they were actualy blue, i thought they were just stained from something, when i pop down next i think i will pick up some :) (empty snail shells)

Barry Stewart said...

Thanks Leah - If they are in the dunes they may not be this species - note that some land snails can have purple insides and you're only likely to find Sea Snails along the strandline. If you can send me a picture I'll let you know.

Cardiff Clive said...

Found these further West,its not unusual to find them washed up on the Western shores after a stint of sustained Westerly winds. Can we see another angle please Barry.Great find though all the same.

xleah couchx said...

yea ok when i go next ill do it xxx

Barry Stewart said...

Clive i guess there's a higher probability of finding them in Pembs, Cornwall and sw Ireland, but seems to be a rare event to find them in Glamorgan. I only took the one photo of Veronica's specimens - do you have any?

xleah couchx said...

i went to tbeach after and i couldnt findthem again, it must hav been the comman garden snail just stained by the old works, o well, i saw a few good birds while i was there tho.

Barry Stewart said...

Aberafan is ideal, so always worth looking again in future - what a great day to be out in any case :)