Purple sea snail + blue-bottle by Doug Cliff

Currently unavailable for purchase

Available to buy on…

Purple sea snail + blue-bottle by 

Taken on the sand at warriewood beach.
Sydney NSW

Thanks Jason, It does look like a sea snail and according to the marine education society of Australasia they are plentiful. its strange that I have never seen one before,

from their website below

Violet Sea Snail

Scientific name: Janthina janthina
Phylum Mollusca

Distribution: This floating 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.

Description: The Violet Snail is a pretty purple colour and is sometimes found washed ashore, along with other members of the “blue armada” being the Blue bottles, By the wind sailors and Glauca,the sea lizard.

Ecology: The Violet sea snail inhabits the ocean surface by secreting a raft of mucus bubbles to keep it afloat. It spends its whole life drifting on the ocean surface in warm seas at the mercy of the winds. It is blind and has a paper-thin shell. It feeds on by-the-wind sailors and other colonial hydroids that drift through the oceans. This gastropod molluscs grows up to 4 cm.. It 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).

Violet snails are protandric hermaphrodites, meaning they are born male and develop into females over time. Fertilization is internal, but males lack a penis, so there is no direct mating. Instead, the males release their sperm into a case that drifts to a female, where the sperm fertilizes the eggs.The Violet Snail broods its young and releases the miniature adults directly into the sea.The tiny purple snails are immediately able to build their own rafts. They use their foot to agitate the water, creating bubbles, which they bind together with mucus. If the bubble raft ever breaks apart, the snail will sink into the ocean and die.

Interesting facts: The head of the violet snail has a long cylindrical snout . They have no eyes. The flesh of this species is deep violet or black and in adults the operculum is absent

All Products

snail, purple snail, sea snail


  • Carla Wick/Jandelle Petters
    Carla Wick/Jan...almost 4 years ago

    oh beautiful! No idea? Looks like a shed snake skin inside a purple snail shell…lol Sorry not much help.

  • Jason Weigner
    Jason Weigneralmost 4 years ago

    Oh we use to find these on the beach in New Zealand! They are some amazing purple snail that floats and feeds on the surface of the water. I think they have the worlds most delicate shell. I forget the name, I’ll have to look it up again.

  • Ray Clarke
    Ray Clarkealmost 4 years ago

  • Carla Wick/Jandelle Petters
    Carla Wick/Jan...almost 4 years ago

    Is this possibly something like a Sail snail (not trying to be funny!)…one that has like an inflatable body part that helps is move over the water surface? (HURRY JASON!!!) :o)

  • I took Jason and your lead and I do believe that it is a “Janthina janthina” , so thanks for your help

    – Doug Cliff

  • Carla Wick/Jandelle Petters
    Carla Wick/Jan...almost 4 years ago

    oh outstanding information! So glad you were able to figure it out…what a fascinating creature!

desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

10%off for joining

the Redbubble mailing list

Receive exclusive deals and awesome artist news and content right to your inbox. Free for your convenience.