The Assateague
Naturalist

Picture
Picture
Atlantic Moon Shell (Polinices duplicatus)
up to about 3 inches

This shell of the Atlantic moon snail is perhaps the most commonly found of the moon snail shells on Assateague beach. Most often you will come across shells with coloring seen in the photo, but sometimes some grey will be mixed in with the light browns.

Like most other moon snails, this one moves on its foot beneath the sand searching for clams. While the foot holds the clam, the snail bores small round holes in the clam shell and feeds on the "meat" inside.

The Atlantic moon shell is distinguished from the common northern moon shell mainly by the brown patch that covers the opening at the bottom of the shell (the umbilicus). While the Atlantic moon shell usually has 4-5 whorls (full turns in the shell's spiral), the common northern moon shell may have up to six.

Atlantic moon shells are found along most of the East Coast.

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