Species Index

Littoraria luteola
(Quoy and Gaimard, 1833)

Distribution: Common in the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Restricted to eastern Australia, from the Torres Strait islands south to Merimbula in New South Wales.

Ecological Notes: Inhabits trunks and roots of mangrove trees, commonly Avicennia species, up to a height of 2.2 m. They graze on the bark of mangroves, ingesting cork cells, fungal hyphae (filaments) and diatoms.

Additional Notes: Shell lightweight, whorls rounded, body whorl with 18 – 23 spiral ribs. Columella smooth, purple in colour, outer lip thin, operculum corneus. Colour variable, usually dark brown, less often reddish brown or yellowish, with or without variable pattern of dark dashes or stripes. Although a marine snail, L. luteola are effectively terrestrial, staying above the surface of the water at all times. Active during the night and after rain, the females release larvae into the water surface, probably once a month on the high spring tides. The shell is relatively thin and the species are vulnerable to attacks by crabs and fish. Length in the range from 8 to 23 mm, maximum 25 mm.

References: Atlas of Living Australia website at Accessed 24/11/2020.

The Seashells of New South Wales, Des Beechey, Senior Fellow, Australian Museum, Release 25. Website at Accessed 24/11/2020.