Violet Snail Ian Jacobs/Flickr

Violet Snail

Janthina janthina

Medium marine snails (molluscs) that float around in the open ocean. They have a purple shell that lightens in colour as you move towards the flattened top of the shell. The shell itself is very light weight and they have no operculum (lid). Their flesh is a dark purple or sometime black.

They float around the open oceans upside down, attached to a raft of mucus bubbles that they make.

Size

Up to 30 mm

 Behaviour

Diet

Main food sources are Blue Bottles, By-the-Wind Sailors and small jellyfish.

Species: WhatToObserve Image

What to Observe

Search area for 30 minutes and record the following:

  • 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

Species: WhenAndWhere Image

When and Where

When To Look

  • Throughout the year

Where To Look

  • Australian mainland coastline and Eastern Tasmania
  • They are open ocean dwellers
  • Often found washed up on beaches around the drift line
Species: WhatElse Image

What Else?

Similar Species

Violet Snails are unique and are unlikely to be confused with any other shell, due to their size, purple colour and thin shell.