Meet the Critters: Black Turban Snail
Diet: Algae and organic Debris
Habitat: Rocky intertidal
Predators: Crabs, Octopuses, sea stars, seagulls, and sea otters
OA Impact: Ocean acidification has been found to have a negative impact on calcification in this species.
Geographic Distribution: North end of Vancouver Island, British Columbia (51°N), to San Geronimo Island, Baja California (30°N). Restricted to the mid-intertidal zone.
The black turban snail is an extremely common species found along the western coast of North America. They have been an important part of the coastal ecosystem and culture for thousands of years; archeologists find their shells in abundance in shell middens, indicating that they were part of the diet of indigenous peoples living in the area. Because of their abundance and their reaction to ocean acidification black turban snails are often a study organism for OA studies in Canada (such as Barclay et. al 2019).
Black turban snails can live up to 30 years with their shell growth slowing over the course of their lives. They typically crawl at speeds of 0.6 to 0.8 mm/second but if they detect a predator they can almost double the speed that they can travel. The shell consists of an outer layer of calcite and an inner layer of mother of pearl (nacreous aragonite). Over their life the top whorl of their shell becomes worn down exposing the mother of pearl and creating a shiny white circle.
Check out the distribution of black turban snails on our Map of Canada's OA Resources by clicking here!
Etymology: (Tegula) Tiles, (funebralis) Funereal/Somber
Common Names: Black Turban Snail
Past Names: Chlorostoma funebralis (A. Adams, 1855)