Below are examples of snails you are likely to run across if you spend any time at all on Oregon’s exposed shores. All photos are from northern Oregon unless noted in the caption. My organization follows Lamb and Hanby (2005). Common names are my choice. I refer to WoRMS for scientific names, and I learn a ton by browsing the natural history riches in Kozloff (1993). Biodiversity of the Central Coast’s Molluscs page is full of great information about the species shown below. And they are covered in the books, field guides, and identification resources listed at the bottom of the page.

Nucella ostrina, northern striped dogwinkle

Most noticeable up among the acorn barnacles, Balanus glandula, Nucella ostrina is one of the more enjoyable snails you’ll encounter in the rocky intertidal.

Lirabuccinum dirum, dire whelk

I haven’t run across dire whelks on my home beaches in northern Oregon. These are from sheltered Salish Sea waters.

Tegula funebralis, black turban

Black turbans are conspicuous and abundant. They seem a bit more numerous on the central Oregon coast than on my home beaches in northern Oregon. Dave Cowles’ page on back turbans is full of great information.

Callianax biplicata, purple olive


Gotshall, D. W. 2005. Guide to Marine Invertebrates, Alaska to Baja California 2nd Edition (Revised). Shoreline Press.

Harbo, R. M. 2011. Whelks to Whales: Coastal Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest. 2nd ed. Harbour Publishing Co.

Kozloff, E. N. 1993. Seashore Life of the Northern Pacific Coast. 3rd ed. University of Washington Press.

Lamb, A. and B. P. Hanby. 2005. Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest. Harbour Publishing.

Sept. J. D. 2009. The Beachcomber’s Guide to Seashore Life in the Pacific Northwest. Revised ed. Harbour Publishing.