ClimateWatch

An initiative of Earthwatch Institute

  1. Eleph2_amber-louise_burberry Exposed black flesh under white shield-like shell by AL Burberry

Elephant Snail

Scutus antipodes

Appearance

  • Elephant snails are a type of semi-rare solitary marine snail (mollusc) and look like a black slugs with a small white, shield-like shell on their backs.
  • The shell never covers the full length of their bodies and their body can sometimes fold up and completely cover the shell.
  • Size:  70-150 mm
 

What to Observe

Search area for 30 minutes and record under the following categories:

  • Abundant - found easily with little searching
  • Frequent - found with minimal searching
  • Rare - only 1 or 2 individuals found with intensive searching
  • Not found - not present during search
 

ClimateWatch Science Advisor

Elephant snails, like all marine snails (molluscs), are under increasing stress due to ocean acidification which can weaken their calcium carbonate shells and reduce body condition. This makes them more prone to disease, predation and low reproduction. Increasing water temperature as a result of climate change will likely affect their abundance and cause a southward shift in their distribution.

When To Look

Throughout the year

Where To Look

  • Common on rocky shores, around the low tide level. Usually found in rock pools, water filled crevices and under rocks.
  • Can tolerate mid exposure, but prefer moist conditions.
  • Geraldton WA, SA, TAS, VIC, NSW up to Bowen QLD. 
 

References

Davey, K. (1998). A Photographic Guide to Seashore Life of Australia. New Holland Publishers Australia Pty Ltd.

Edger, GJ. (2008). Australian Marine Life. The Plants and Animals of Temperate Waters [2nd Ed]. New Holland Publishers Australia Pty Ltd.

 

Links

  1. Search Species