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Violet Sea-snail, Common Violet Snail, Purple Storm Snail

Janthina janthina


The Violet Sea-snail's shell is a lovely pale lavender on the point end, but dark purple on the large end, because it floats upside down on the water surface. The height of the shell may be up to 1½", the width slightly more, although this one was only about an inch wide and tall. It is paper thin, which enables it to float, and has no operculum, or lid, which it can shut, because it never needs to close up. The shell was washed up on the beach, empty.


The Violet Sea-snail is a holoplanktonic sea snail, which floats, point down at the surface of the water, clinging to a raft that it makes of bubbles. Sometimes these snails get blown up on shore in great numbers, and for this reason they are also known as Purple Storm Snails.


This was a rare treat to find. The color is simply amazing.

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Irene Brady
Spotted by
Irene Brady

Hawaii, USA

Spotted on Apr 14, 2011
Submitted on Apr 14, 2016

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