Moon Snail

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Moon Snail

Polinices duplicatus

 

Range/Geographical Distribution: Massachusetts to the Gulf of Mexico. 

Habitat: Sandy, shallow waters in the intertidal and subtidal zones. 

Description: A large, gray/tan shell with several whorls.  The center of the shell is often dark blue or purple. The snail’s soft body is large and will conceal the entire shell when it is outstretched. 

Size: Can reach three inches in diameter. 

Food: Other mollusks.

Breeding: Sexual reproduction.  Females lay eggs in a sticky mass of jelly over their shell.  A layer of sand sticks to the collar and thickens it in order to protect the eggs.  Larvae are released into the water as plankton once they hatch.

Predators: Larger snails, including other moon snails, birds, fish, and crabs.

Conservation Status: No legal status.

Interesting Facts: Moon snails drill a countersunk, circular hole in the shell of their prey and then consume the soft body with their proboscis.

On the Coast:  Moon snails are common along the Georgia coast but it is the empty shells that are usually seen washed up on the beaches.  You may also encounter evidence of moon snails by finding small holes drilled in other shells laying on the beach.

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