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Common periwinkle


maximum 3 centimeter


brown-gray with a light opening


6 to 10 years


seaweed and algae


people (fisheries), some crabs (shore crab)

special feature:

empty shells are used by hermit crabs when young



  • Dut: Gewone alikruik (krukel)
  • Lat: Littorina littorea
  • Eng: Common periwinkle, edible periwinkle (common winkle, edible winkle)
  • Ger: Gemeine Strandschnecke
  • Fren: Bigorneau
  • Dan: Almindelig strandsnegl
Common periwinkle, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

Common periwinkle

Periwinkles are the pebbles of the sea. You find them along the entire coast, on breakwaters, dikes, piers, etc. When a periwinkle ventures high onto the dike on a hot summer day, it lets itself roll down the slope when it gets too hot, hoping to land in water. As it crawls over a hard surface, it leaves behind a trail of slime. All kinds of algae stick to this slime. Other snails, such as laver spire shells, graze upon these slimy trails. If you pick up a periwinkle, the snail will hide in its shell. Pick up several snails and shake them in your hands, then the snails often crawl out of their shell. They confuse the shaking with wave movement. They think that the tide has risen and it is time to look for food.

  • Distribution and habitat
    rock pool, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

    Common periwinkles are extremely common along the Dutch coast, the North Sea, Wadden Sea and delta waters. During low tide, you find masses of periwinkles on the dikes, in tidal pools, on oyster banks and among seaweed.

  • Periwinkle eating seaweed
    Periwinkle eats seaweed, foto fitis, sytske dijksen