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It’s Turbo Time!

Posted on Dec 5, 2017 by in Species Highlights


If you aren’t looking for them, sometimes it is easy to miss one of our fastest slow-moving gastropods. With a name like turbo snail there is an immediate fascination with the obvious contradiction. Are these snails really as fast as their moniker might imply?

Turbo snails can grow up to 2 inches. They do quickly eliminate large amounts of nuisance algae. They can consume mass quantities of it off of live rock and aquarium glass, which makes them a very popular addition to home aquariums. They thrive in crevices and holes in natural reefs and appreciate large spaces to graze.

But these snails do not get their name based off of their speed, but rather the SHAPE of their shells. They are also referred to as wavy turban or top crown snails because of their thick, turban-shaped shell which protects their soft, flexible body. Their scientific name Turbinidae is based on the genus name Turbo, which is Latin for spinning top (a children’s toy).

toupie   Turbo Snail

Look for them next time you are in our Coastal Gallery. There’s a good chance you will see one or two grazing right in the front of our Live Coral Exhibit. It’s an amazing view that illustrates how they move and how they use their mouths to suck up algae. Check out the video below to catch a glimpse of some in action.