Shells have whorls and are convex
- The shell of the tower snail is like an elongated cone with regular spirals and it is a filter feeder- unlike other gastropod mollusks. The snail varies in size from about a half-inch to six inches long. They can be designated as medium-sized sea snails with tightly coiled shells and an operculum. The term turritella is derived from the Latin word turritus which means turreted or towered.
- The snails burrow into the mud and have a small foot.
A close-up of snail turritells
Image showing the fossil of turritella tricarinata
- Phylum: Mollusca
- Class: Gastropoda
- Family: Turritellidae
The gregarious animal is found in dense aggregations
Sea beach with washed off shells of turritella snails
- They reside in the soft sediments of marine and estuarine waters and are often found in dense aggregations. It is believed that the snail came into existence in the Cretaceous period which began around 144 million years ago and is still in existence! Not just a single species but a hundred turritella species exist even today. The snail turritella is a gregarious animal.
- They feed by filtering water through the gills. They can be found along the coasts that run from Peru to Japan and have a wide geographic distribution.
A round aperture differentiates the shells from the auger shells
- The present-day turritella looks like the fossils of the cretaceous period. The fossils come from France and are believed to be fifty million old! Like the other species that belong to the same class, they possess an asymmetric body with a characteristic twisting of internal organs- to be more elaborate,their head lies at the top end while the muscular creeping foot lies on the underside.
- Like most gastropods,they also hold a single tapering shell. The shells often resemble the auger shells but have distinct features like a round aperture. In the auger shells, one finds an irregular opening.
Turritella vermicularis: the extinct sea snail
- These sea snails existed from the Miocene to the Pliocene epoch, somewhere around 37.2 to 2.588 million years ago. The fossils of this species have been found in Italy, Spain, Austria, Romania, and Namibia.
Turritella agate: the stone of protection, survival, strength, and fertility
A close-up of turritella agate that is sold as a polished gemstone
- The turritella shells are frequently discovered as fossils. The stones from which they are found is carbonating stone that is formed from large quantities of turritella shells and is therefore named turritella limestone and on silicification, it is known as turritella agate, both varieties commonly sold as polished cabochons.
- The stone is believed to possess healing properties and is therefore of a high commercial value. It belongs to the quartz family and is earthy brown to black. The name agate is derived from the Achates River in Sicily where it was first found. Discovered from the neolithic artifacts, the stone is said to possess a strengthening influence.
- It is said that the neolithic man used the stone as an amulet. It has also been found that the Babylonians used the stone for ornamentation purposes. The stone cutting and polishing industry of Germany is said to have made extensive use of agate in the 15th-19th century. Apart from this, it is used as a fertility crystal and also finds use in root chakra healing and spirituality.
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