Invasion History

First Non-native North American Tidal Record:
First Non-native West Coast Tidal Record:
First Non-native East/Gulf Coast Tidal Record:

General Invasion History:

Littorina brevicula is native to the rocky intertidal shores of Asia from Hong Kong to the southern Kurile Islands, Russia (Golikov et al. 1976; Huang 2001).

North American Invasion History:

Invasion History on the West Coast:

Littorina brevicula was found on newly planted beds of Japanese Pacific Oysters (Crassostrea gigas) in Samish Bay (in 1924) and Bellingham Bay, Washington (WA) (in 1926). It was also found on incoming shipments of Japanese oysters at Willapa Bay, WA and Elkhorn Slough, California (Bonnot 1935; Kincaid 1949, cited by Hanna 1966; Carlton 1979). It is not known to have become established in North American waters, or elsewhere, outside its native range (Hanna 1966; Carlton 1979).


Littorina brevicula is a small marine snail with a sturdy shell. The adult shell is dextrally coiled, and has 5-6 whorls with prominent spiral keels. Between the keels are many small spiral ribs. The sculpture includes widely spaced, slanted growth lines, intersecting the spiral keels. The shell color may be yellow-brown, green, or olive, with blotches of dark brown or black. The interior of the mouth is lilac or violet. The shell reaches 18 mm in length, and about 17 mm in height. Description from: Golikov et al. 1976.


Taxonomic Tree

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:   Mollusca
Class:   Gastropoda
Order:   Neotaenioglossa
Family:   Littorinidae
Genus:   Littorina
Species:   brevicula


Littorina manshurica (None, None)

Potentially Misidentified Species

Littorina sitkana
Northeast Pacific native (Abbott 1974; Carlton 1979)



Littorina brevicula is a periwinkle that inhabits rocky shores. Sexes are separate, and the snails become sexually mature at ~6 mm shell length. Spawning occurs in winter and early spring. Females release planktonic egg capsules, which hatch into planktotrophic veligers. The snails feed on littoral algae and occur from the mid-intertidal to ~3 m depth (Golikov et al. 1976; Son and Hong 1998).



Trophic Status:




General HabitatOyster ReefNone
General HabitatRockyNone
Tidal RangeSubtidalNone
Tidal RangeLow IntertidalNone
Tidal RangeMid IntertidalNone
Vertical HabitatEpibenthicNone

Tolerances and Life History Parameters

Maximum Length (mm)18Golikov et al. 1976
Maximum Width (mm)17Golikov et al. 1976
Broad Temperature RangeNoneWarm temeprate-Cold temperate
Broad Salinity RangeNonePolyhaline-Euhaline

General Impacts

Littorina brevicula is a failed introduction on the coast of North America and has no reported impacts.

Regional Distribution Map

Bioregion Region Name Year Invasion Status Population Status
NWP-3a None 0 Native Estab
NWP-4a None 0 Native Estab
NWP-2 None 0 Native Estab
NWP-3b None 0 Native Estab
NWP-4b None 0 Native Estab
NEP-III Alaskan panhandle to N. of Puget Sound 1924 Def Failed
P293 _CDA_P293 (Strait of Georgia) 1924 Def Failed
NWP-5 None 0 Native Estab

Occurrence Map

OCC_ID Author Year Date Locality Status Latitude Longitude


Abbott, R. Tucker (1974) American Seashells, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York. Pp. <missing location>

Carlton, James T. (1979) History, biogeography, and ecology of the introduced marine and estuarine invertebrates of the Pacific Coast of North America., Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Davis. Pp. 1-904

Collado-Vides, L. (2002) Morphological plasticity of Caulerpa prolifera (Caulerpales, Chlorophyta) in relation to growth form in a coral reef lagoon, Botanica Marina 45: 123-129

Golikov, A. N. (1976) [Class Gastropoda], In: Golikov, A. N., and 7 other editors(Eds.) Animals and Plants of Peter the Great Bay. , Leningrad. Pp. 72-92

Golikov, A. N. and 7 other editors. (1976) <missing title>, Nauk, Leningrad. Pp. <missing location>

Hanna, G. Dallas (1966) Introduced mollusks of Western North America, Occasional Papers of the California Academy of Sciences 48: <missing location>

Huang, Zongguo (Ed.), Junda Lin (Translator) (2001) Marine Species and Their Distributions in China's Seas, Krieger, Malabar, FL. Pp. <missing location>

Son, Min Ho; Hong, Sung Yun (1998) Reproduction of Littorina brevicula in Korean waters, Marine Ecology Progress Series 175: 215-223