Tinted Wentletrap

Epitonium tinctum



This marine snail belongs to the family Epitoniidae which are all common intertidal species within 3-30ft of water depth (1). The shell base color is white but the pointy end may have a brown or purple shade and the entirety of the shell is segmented into whorls that gives a spiral shape (1). The head of this snail has a pair of tentacles and eyes with the mouth bearing the tongue (radula) for feeding on sea anemones (2). Prior to feeding or when the tinted wentletrap is disturbed, it releases a purple toxin for anesthetic use on the anemone to relax it while the snail feeds on the anemones tentacles (3). The length of this snail can be up to 1.6cm and the whorls contain about twelve ridges around the circumference of the shell (3).


(1)Abbott, R. T. (1986). Seashells of North America: a guide to field identification. Macmillan.

(2)Ricketts, E. F., Calvin, J., Hedgpeth, J. W., & Phillips, D. W. (1985). Between pacific tides. Stanford University Press.

(3)Brandon, J. L., & Rokop, F. J. (1985). Life between the tides: The natural history of the common seashore life of southern California. Amer Southwest Publishing Company of San Diego.



(Photograph) (c) Alison Young, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC)