Littoraria irrorata

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Littoraria irrorata
Littoraria irrorata.jpg
The shell of this individual of Littoraria irrorata is covered in the lichen Pyrenocollema halodytes
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
(unranked): clade Caenogastropoda
clade Hypsogastropoda
clade Littorinimorpha
Superfamily: Littorinoidea
Family: Littorinidae
Genus: Littoraria
Species: L. irrorata
Binomial name
Littoraria irrorata
Say, 1822
  • Littorina irrorata (Say, 1822)
  • Turbo irroratus Say, 1822

Littoraria irrorata, common name the Marsh periwinkle, is a species of sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Littorinidae.[1]

This species occurs in salt marshes on the Atlantic coast and Gulf Coast of North America, from Massachusetts to Texas.

Some colonies of this species of snail are the only mollusks known to practice fungiculture.[2]


The maximum recorded shell length is 29.2 mm.[3]


This species can be found along Ireland, the Northwest Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.


Marsh periwinkles on marsh grass

Feeding habits[edit]

Littoraria irrorata feeds on fungi that it encourages to grow. It creates and maintains wounds on the grass, Spartina alterniflora, which are then infected by fungi, probably of the Phaeosphaeria and Mycosphaerella genera. Such fungi are the preferred diet of the snail. L. irrorata also deposits faeces on the wounds that they create, which encourage the growth of the fungi because they are rich in nitrogen and fungal hyphae. Juvenile snails raised on uninfected leaves do not grow and are more likely to die, indicating the importance of the fungi in the diet of L. irrorata.[4]


The minimum recorded depth for this species is 0 m; maximum recorded depth is 22 m.[3]


  1. ^ a b Reid, David G. (2011). Littoraria irrorata (Say, 1822). Accessed through: World Register of Marine Species at on 2011-05-16
  2. ^ Brian R. Silliman , Steven Y. Newell (2003). "Fungal farming in a snail". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 100 (26): 15643–15648. Bibcode:2003PNAS..10015643S. doi:10.1073/pnas.2535227100. PMC 307621Freely accessible. PMID 14657360. 
  3. ^ a b Welch J. J. (2010). "The "Island Rule" and Deep-Sea Gastropods: Re-Examining the Evidence". PLoS ONE. 5 (1): e8776. Bibcode:2010PLoSO...5.8776W. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008776. PMC 2808249Freely accessible. PMID 20098740. 
  4. ^ Silliman, B.; Newell, S. (2003). "Fungal farming in a snail". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 100 (26): 15643–15648. Bibcode:2003PNAS..10015643S. doi:10.1073/pnas.2535227100. PMC 307621Freely accessible. PMID 14657360. 
  • Reid, D.G. (1986). The littorinid molluscs of mangrove forests in the Indo-Pacific region. British Museum (Natural History), London
  • Reid, D.G. (1989a). "The comparative morphology, phylogeny and evolution of the gastropod family Littorinidae". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B. 324: 1–110. doi:10.1098/rstb.1989.0040. 
  • Reid, D.G., Dyal, P. & Williams, S.T. (2009) Global diversification of mangrove fauna: a molecular phylogeny of Littoraria (Gastropoda: Littorinidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
  • Rosenberg, G., F. Moretzsohn, and E. F. García. 2009. Gastropoda (Mollusca) of the Gulf of Mexico, Pp. 579–699 in Felder, D.L. and D.K. Camp (eds.), Gulf of Mexico–Origins, Waters, and Biota. Biodiversity. Texas A&M Press, College Station, Texas

External links[edit]