Also known as the 'Common Cowrie', the Spotted Cowrie has an unmistakeable egg-shaped shell with a narrow opening along the underside and ridges across the back. It lives on rocky shores at, or below, the low tide mark.
How to identify
Normally pale creamy in colour with three darker patches on the back, and white, smooth ridges running across it. The head, tentacles, foot and body of this mollusc are brightly coloured; they may be red, yellow, green, brown or orange, but it is the shell you're likely to spot washed up on the beach. The Spotted Cowrie can be distinguished from the very similar Arctic Cowrie by the three dark spots on the back, which the Arctic Cowrie lacks.
Where to find it
Found all around our coasts, although less common on eastern coasts.
When to find it
How can people help
Molluscs provide a vital link in the food chain for many of our rarer species. Our seas and coastline are in need of protection if we are to keep our marine wildlife healthy. The Wildlife Trusts are working with fishermen, researchers, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas', where marine wildlife thrives. This work has recently had a massive boost with the passing of the Marine Bill, promising sustainable development of the UK's marine environment. Do your bit for our Living Seas by supporting your local Wildlife Trust.