Low Tide Life: Northern Moon Snail

Photo of Northern Moon Snail

Back in August, while wading in knee-deep water at a local beach, I noticed dozens if not hundreds of Northern Moon Snails (Euspira heros) slowly plowing through the sand. Having been familiar with their shells (empty, washed-ashore ones, that is) for years, I was thrilled to find some occupied dwellings.

The almost transparent bodies of Northern Moon Snails appear much too big for their shells, but as I experienced first hand, when picked up, individuals push water out of their shells and bodies and manage to squeeze into their nearly round homes without much trouble. A perfectly sized, flat operculum serves as the snug door a snail shuts to complete this marine magic trick.

These mollusks live in intertidal and, more commonly, subtidal waters along the New England coastline (and elsewhere) where they seek out meals in the form of Atlantic Surf Clams and other shellfish.

Bonus quiz: Find and identify the other mollusk in one of the following photos.

To view the following images in full-size, click here.

4 thoughts on “Low Tide Life: Northern Moon Snail”

  1. Ah! So that’s how they earned their name. Do their bodies fold upwards, over their shells, as it appears in two of the photos?

  2. I found one of these shells for the first time last week, identified it, then googled it for more info–your post was the first hit! A wonderful coincidence between Maine naturalists! Thanks for posting about this snail!

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