The Lunar Dove Snail
The Lunar Dove Snail, Astyris lunata (Say, 1826), is one of the local shallow-water microgastropods associated with seaweed. Living dove snails can be found crawling on clumps of brown algae stranded on Southwest Florida beaches after storms. Its shell rarely surpasses 5 mm (about 0.2 inch), and show a pattern of alternating, sinuous brown and white markings. They are essentially devoid of any sculpture. The live animal (photo on right) was collected by Rebecca Mensch on stranded seaweed, on Sanibel, January 2015. Differences in shell color and, in particular, the color of the protoconch (early shell, on “tip” of the adult shell), suggest that there may be more than one species treated under the name "Astyris lunata."
The Lunar Dove Snail, Astyris lunata. From left, shell in two views and living snail, from Sanibel. Shells are of equal size, and may represent different species. Photos by José H. Leal.