Littoraria scabra

Littoraria scabra is a marine snail belonging to the family of periwinkles (Littorinidae) and lives on mangrove trees in the tropical Indian and Pacific Oceans.

The animal is edible and gathered for for food in some indigenous communities, but in general the small size, and the gritty texture of females carrying larvae, make this an unpopular shellfish.

This species is not endangered at present, but is threatened by widespread destruction of mangrove forests.

Species detail

The shell is from 25 to 35 mm in length, sculptured by 9 to 11 fine grooves on the spire whorls, and by 36 to 41 ribs running in a spiral direction on the final whorl. Under high magnification, fine spiral striations are visible in the grooves between the ribs on the last whorl.

Shell colour ranges from cream to pale yellow, brown or black, usually with a pattern of broad axial stripes that are brown or black, and often broken up into separate dashes on the middle of the whorl and on the base.

The columella is wide and always white in colour. The head is black, with a white pattern on the tentacles, and eyes at their bases; the sides of the foot are mottled with black.

The sexes are separate, in males there is a large penis on the right side behind the head, and this is yellow or orange with a large bulbous gland and a smaller filament.

  • littoraria scrabra

    The shell is distinguished from similar species by its wide, white columella on the inner side of the aperture. Find out more about the taxonomy of Littoraria scabra.

  • Littoraria scrabra

    This species is common and widespread, from East Africa to Australia and Hawaii. Discover more about the distribution and typical habitat of Littoraria scabra.

  • crawling

    Development is unusual, brooding of eggs being followed by release of planktonic larvae. Learn more about the biology of this species.

  • Littoraria scabra

    Although a marine species, this periwinkle lives as a land snail on the trunks and branches of mangrove trees. Read about the behaviour of Littoraria scabra.

  • habitat

    Although not presently endangered, this species is threatened by destruction of mangrove habitats. Find out more.

  • Littoraria scrabra

    Get reference information for Littoraria scabra.


Littoraria scabra

Littoraria scabra is a widespread species of marine snail that typically lives on the trunks, prop roots and lower branches of mangrove trees.


Dr David Reid
Dr David Reid

Merit Researcher and Leader of the Marine Mollusc Research Group. His research focuses on the systematics and evolution of shallow-water gastropods.

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