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  • José H. Leal

The Tiny Dwarf Olive

The Tiny Dwarf Olive, Olivella pusilla (Marrat, 1871), is a local species found in relative abundance on sandy-mud bottoms and mud flats. Dwarf Olives used to be united with “normal-size” Olives in the family Olividae, but details of the anatomy and DNA separate them into their own family, the Olivellidae. The shell is up to 8 mm (about ¼ inch) in size, bullet-shaped, with about 5 whorls, and short spire. The color pattern in this species is very variable, but usually includes a cream, grayish, or bluish-gray background with variable patterns of darker spiral bands and faint flame-like markings.

Shells may also be almost completely black: the dark live specimen on the right picture was photographed by Amy Tripp on a sand bar on the eastern side of the Jolly Bridge, Naples.

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