Newcomb's Littorine Snail (Littorina subrotundata)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Littorina subrotundata (Carpenter, 1864) Salt Marsh Periwinkle. Photo courtesy of L. Schroeder. Source:
Littorina subrotundata (Carpenter, 1864) Salt Marsh Periwinkle. Photo courtesy of L. Schroeder. Source:

State Status: Removed, 2010
Federal Status: Species of concern
Recovery Plans: None

Newcomb’s littorine snail, also known as the saltmarsh  or Newcomb’s periwinkle, was placed on the state candidate list in 1997, but was removed in 2010. It is a common coldwater North Pacific marine gastropod. The species has been studied in recent years and is now known to range from Humbolt Bay in California north to Alaska and west to Russia and the Kurile Islands (J. Carlton, correspondence on file).  It is common or abundant in many estuaries and bays along the entire northwest coast. It was once believed to be a very localized salt-marsh species, but more recent study clarified the taxonomy of the species. Recent genetic analysis that included samples from Mukkaw Bay, Grays Harbor, and Shi Shi Beach in Washington confirms the wide distribution and identity of the species (Kyle and Boulding 1998).

Literature Cited

Kyle, C. J. and E. G. Boulding. 1998. Molecular genetic evidence for parallel evolution in a marine gastropod, Littorina subrotundata. Proceedings Royal Society London B, 265:303-308.


About the Author: 
Species accounts were compiled by Derek Stinson, Gary Wiles, Gerald Hayes, Jeff Lewis, Lisa Hallock, Steve Desimone, and Joe Buchanan. Many other individuals took time from busy schedules to review species accounts or provide information or documents for this report, including WDFW district and assistant district wildlife biologists, research scientists, and people from other agencies. They include Harriet Allen, David Anderson, Hannah Anderson, Keith Aubry, Lynne Barre, Dana Base, Penny Becker, Scott Becker, Gary Bell, Gretchen Blatz, Joe Buchanan, Steve Desimone, Joe Engler, Greg Falxa, Howard Ferguson, Rich Finger, Scott Fitkin, John Fleckenstein, Eric Gardner, Joe Gaydos, Dawn Gedenberg, Gary Ivey, Lisa Hallock, Molly Hallock, Jeff Heinlen, Eric Holman, Steve Jeffries, Mary Linders, Mike Livingston, Russ Mullins, Travis Nelson, Heidi Newsome, Don Noviello, Brent Norberg, Gail Olson, Ann Potter, Scott Pearson, Leslie Robb, Elizabeth Rodrick, Ella Rowan, Lori Salzer, Chris Sato, Tammy Schmidt, Larry Schwitters, Michelle Tirhi, Laura Todd, Matt Vander Haegen, Jim Watson, and Kristin Wilkinson. Joe Higbee and Rod Gilbert allowed use of many photographs. David Speiser kindly allowed the use of his yellow-billed cuckoo photo.