04 March 2011

Snails in the local Asian store

These appear to be a littorinid species. The label below the tray said they were "mud snai".

The members of the family Littorinidae are intertidal, semi-terrestrial snails whose ancestors stopped short of evolving to be fully terrestrial. They were the subjects of two old posts here and here.

In the next tray were these larger snails labeled "shell conch". My ignorance of the taxonomy of most marine gastropods prevents me from attaching even a family name to them.


Anonymous said...

Both of these are common sea snail species on the Atlantic coast of North America and both were named by Linnaeus. The ones in the top image are the common periwinkle Littorina littoralis, occurring as far south as New Jersey, and the ones in the bottom image are the channeled whelk Busycotypus canaliculatus, occurring from Massachusetts to East Florida.

The common periwinkle also occurs in the Eastern Atlantic and was boiled and sold as a common seaside snack when I was a kid. It may even still be sold in a few places. A bent pin was provided along with the cooked snails to enable you to "winkle" the soft parts out of the shell. Consumers would throw the operculum away.

Susan J. Hewitt

Fred Schueler said...

Part of the bold unconventionality of my youth in Connecticut was undertaking to feed on both of these species, along with Mytilus and Crepidula, none of which were eathen in the softshell-quohog-scallop-oyster culture of the times.

Anonymous said...

How was the Crepidula? I have never heard of that as a food species. I would imagine they would be extremely chewy and muddy-tasting, but maybe not?

Susan J. Hewitt