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Laver spire shell


up to 8 millimeters


light brown to gray-green, white-gray when dead


1 to 2 years


sea lettuce, gutweed, diatoms and algae from the tidal-flat floor


tidal flat birds, , such as ducks



  • Dut: Wadslakje, brakwaterhorentje
  • Lat: Hydrobia ulvae (Peringia ulvae)
  • Eng: Laver spire shell
  • Ger: Wattschnecke
  • Dan: Dyndsnegle, hydrobia neglecta
Laver spire shells, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

Laver spire shell

Laver spire shells are small but important. They are food for many animals. Furthermore, their droppings glue sand and mud together, contributing to the stability of the sea floor. Laver spire shells can crawl and during high tide, even float. By making a slime bubble on the underside of the shell, they hang in an upside down position under the water surface and drift with the wind and waves.

  • Distribution and habitat
    Laver spire shells, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

    Laver spire shells are found down to 20 meters deep on the tidal flats and in the delta region. They can also live in brackish and freshwater, so that you can find them far inland. The number of laver spire shells on the tidal flats can be as much as 300,000 per square meter.
    Sometimes, one finds a bank of 'gray grit' at the foot of the dikes in the tidal area. If you take a closer look, you will see that it is not grit at all, but thousands of laver spire shells. The poor things are victims of the wind and have been blown ashore out of the shallow water.

  • Floating laver spire shells
    floating laver spire shells, foto fitis, sytske dijksen