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  • José H. Leal

New Jeweled Top Snails!

Our Aquarium Curator, Rebecca Mensch, just received a number of Jeweled Top Snails, Calliostoma annulatum (Lightfoot, 1786), AKA Purple-Ringed Top Snail, for display. This is a shallow- and cold-water gastropod from the West Coast of North America, found from Baja California, México, to Alaska. Jeweled Top Snails are normally associated with the large fronds of Giant Kelp seaweed Macrocystis pyrifera.


One of the new Jeweled Top Snails at the Museum.

This paragraph about the species, quoted from the Monterey Bay Aquarium website, explains its mode of life:


“This snail lives mid-stipe in the kelp, sharing its high-rise home with other top snails above and below (channeled top snails live up in the canopy; blue top snails live close to the bottom). Each species knows its proper place, and if one gets knocked off, it climbs back up to its proper spot.”

The Jeweled Tope Snail, Calliostoma annulatum, on Giant Kelp stipe. Photo by California Academy of Sciences.

The species is considered to be “omnivorous,” feeding on algae, hydroids, bryozoans, and some dead animals. Some local relatives found along Southwest Florida are, for instance, the Tampa Bay Top Snail and the Beautiful Top Snail.