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Central and South Florida Gastropod Seashell Identification Guide: Vases

This guide should serve to teach the public how to identify local Central and South Florida gastropod seashells.

Vase Snails

(Family) Turbinellidae

Distinguishing Characteristics: The Vases have thick, robust shells with wide shoulders.  Their spires are short and they can often be distinguished by ridges called "plaits" on the columnella, visible just inside the aperture.

Habitat:  These snails prefer to live on sandy and muddy bottoms in water up to 30 feet.

Diet:  This family primarily feeds upon clams and worms.

Scientific Name:  Vasum muricatum

Common Name:  Caribbean Vase

Distinguishing Characteristics:  There are five plaits on the inside of the aperture.  The first, third, and fifth plaits are usually the most pronounced.  Spines or knobs can be found on the shoulder as well as near the base of the shell.    Maximum size 4 inches.

Vasum muricatum

Caribbean Vase