These unique tiny critters are beautiful and a blessing to our oceans. What makes these snails so special? Find out in our 5 facts about the Janthina janthina.

  1. Unlike most snails who slide along the ground, climbing up rocky surfaces be it land or sea, the Purple Ocean Snail spends its life floating on the surface of the ocean. They create and maintain a raft of gas-filled mucous bubbles and rely on wind and currents to move them. If the raft ever breaks, the violet snail will sink into the ocean below and die.
  2. If you have ever come across one of their shells on a beach, you’ll know it is very fragile. Usually, it is found as the size of a penny and has an ombré of purple from top to bottom. This colouration is to help with camouflage as they hang upside-down with the bottom of the shell at the surface of the water.
  3. It eats Portuguese-Man-of-War and other ocean critters such as Blue Ocean Slugs and By-the-Wind Sailor. When one of these tasty drifters passes by, the Purple Ocean Snail extends their sharp mouths like a cannon and takes a bite.
  4. They’re known to hang out in large groups and stick together out in the ocean. Hundreds have been spotted connected with one another.
  5. These snails start out life as male and then progressively as they mature, they become female in order to reproduce.