Janthina janthina Click to enlarge image
Violet Snail, Janthina janthina, with bubble float Image: Dr Isobel Bennett
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    janthina
    Genus
    Janthina
    Family
    Janthinidae
    Class
    Gastropoda
    Phylum
    Mollusca
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    3 cm
  • Habitats
    pelagic

The Violet Snail is sometimes found washed ashore, particularly during summer in Sydney.

Identification

The Violet Snail is a pretty purple colour and is sometimes found washed ashore.

Habitat

The Violet Snail lives in oceans and coastal waters.

Distribution

The Violet Snail is found in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and eastern Tasmania. Widespread overseas in Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans in tropical and subtropical waters.

Feeding and diet

The Violet Snail manages to float by producing its own mucus-covered bubble raft, and feeding on floating cnidarians such as Blue Bottles (Physalia physalis) and By-the-wind Sailors (Velella velella).

Other behaviours and adaptations

Most of the Violet Snail's life is spent floating on the ocean surface at the mercy of the winds.

Life history cycle

The Violet Snail broods its young and releases the miniature adults directly into the sea. All offspring begin life as male and later transform into females.