Wavy Turban Snail

Wavy Turban Snail (Astraea undosa)

Contributed by TPERP Tracey Jones

Turban shaped brown and pink snail with green algae growing on itJ&W Tam

Where to find them: Point Conception south, in the lower intertidal and subtidal to 60 feet.

What’s their life like: The wavy turban snail has a large, heavy shell with undulating ridges spiraling along the outside of its reddish shell. It is one of the larger snails to inhabit the lower intertidal and subtidal zones. They slowly wander about the kelp fronds, rasping the film of diatoms on the kelp’s surface with their file like tongues.

Size: up to 6 inches high.

What do they eat: grazes on algae.

Who eats them: octopus, lobster, fish, sea stars, snails. There is a commercial fishery for them in Mexico.

Defense: camouflage, crawl away.

Interesting Facts: migrates up the kelp canopy at night. Shell is often covered with other organisms such as algae, which serves as camouflage. The operculum or door to the shell’s opening is calcified and hard like the shell itself.


Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
Superfamily: Trochoidea
Family: Turbinidae
Scientific Name: Astraea undosa
Common Name(s): Wavy Turban Snail

Wavy Turban

Sources of Information:

  1. Seashore of Southern California

a LonePine Field Guide by Ian Sheldon

  1. Life Between the tides

The Natural History of the Common Seashore Life of Southern California

by Jeffrey L. Brandon and Frank J. Rokop

  1. Wikipedia

Last revised 15-Jan-21