|Northern moon snail|
The northern moon snail, scientific name Lunatia heros, is a species of large sea snail, a predatory marine gastropod mollusk in the family Naticidae, the moon snails (U.S.) or necklace snails (U.K.).
This large snail is rather uncommon intertidally, but is much more common subtidally. This species, like all moon snails, feeds voraciously on clams and other snails.
- Canada: Labrador, Gulf of St. Lawrence, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick
- USA: Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, and Maine.
There is a sibling species on the Pacific coast of North America: Lunatia lewisii (Gould, 1847).
The shell of this species is globular and can, under the right conditions, grow as large as 125 mm (7 inches) in maximum dimension.
The operculum is large, ear-shaped in outline, and is corneus and somewhat transparent. On beaches where the shell of this species washed up commonly, the operculum will usually also be found washed up in the drift line.
Moon snail predation
Evidence of northern moon snail predation is usually much easier to find than the snails themselves:
The powerful foot enables this gastropod to plow under the sand in search of other mollusks. Upon finding one, it "drills" a hole into the shell with its radula, releases digestive enzymes, and sucks out the somewhat predigested contents.
When empty shells of clams and snails, including other moon snails, are seen to have a neat "countersunk" hole drilled in them, this is evidence of predation by a moon snail.
- Eco Field Guide: Northern moon snail
- The Long Island Shell Club, 1988, Seashells of Long Island, Long Island Shell Club, New York.
- Moon snails in butter
- "ITIS classification". ITIS.gov.
- Gould A. A. (1841). Report on the Invertebrata of Massachusetts, comprising the Mollusca, Crustacea, Annelida, and Radiata. Published agreeably to an order of the legislature, by the commissioners on the Zoological and Botanical Survey of the state. pp. i-xiii [= 1-13], 1-373, pl. [1-15]. Cambridge. (Forsom, Wells & Thurston). 231-232. figure 163.
- Bouchet, P. (2012). Lunatia heros (Say, 1822). Accessed through: World Register of Marine Species at http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=574706 on 2012-08-16
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- Trott, T.J. 2004. Cobscook Bay inventory: a historical checklist of marine invertebrates spanning 162 years. Northeastern Naturalist (Special Issue 2): 261 - 324.