Janthina janthina (Linnaeus, 1758)

Janthina janthina appears to be the only species in the family Janthinidae found in the Marshall Islands. This pelagic species lives at the surface of the ocean, riding the underside of a bubble raft it creates. It feeds on the floating siphonophores Portuguese man-o-war (Physalia physalis) and Velella velella. At the mercy of the wind, they occasionally wash ashore on beaches, and that is where the purple shells can be found. If you find them soon enough, you can plop them back into the water to take photos.

Created 2 January 2018

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