Blue Top Snail

Author: Alisha Carey

Common name: Blue Top Snail

Scientific name: Calliostoma ligatum

Size range: up to 2.5 cm (1 inch) in diameter

Identifying Features:   The Blue Top Snai (Calliostoma ligatum) is part of the Callistomatidae family. It has a brown shell with tan to orange spirals. Its inner layer its pearly blue, and the foot of the snail is orange. When the outer layer of the shell is worn away the top of the shell (or the whole shell) may also look blue which is why it is called a Blue Top snail.

Habitat: Blue Top Snails are found in tide pools or up to 30 meters deep in the ocean. They can be found from Alaska to California. Blue top snails keep to rocky areas and kelp beds.

Food: C. ligatum eat a variety of algae and kelp. It eats by using its radula teeth (a ribbon with rasping teeth.)

Predators: The Blue Top snail protects itself by hiding within its shell. Some of their predators include shore birds, fish, crabs and other snails.

Life Cycle: In general, snails are considered sexually mature by the time they are one year old. The C. ligatum has both female and male organs. It produces eggs which it fertilizes inside. Then they release the eggs and they are attached to rocks and seaweed but some eggs can be found in the sand.

Photos by D. Young


Cowles, Dave (2004). Retrieved May  17 th 2012 from

Lamb, Andy and Hanby, Bernard P. 2006. Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest. Harbour Publishing, British Columbia: 30

Snails. Retrieved May 17th 2012  from

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