Turban shell

Turban shell
Image: MAVRIC Staff / Museums Victoria
Community type

Intertidal reef organisms

Habitat type

Rocky reefs, kelp beds and inter-tidal zone

The smallest of the three species, growing up to 50mm in height this species has a greenish shell with shallow ridges. The turban shell is also known as a periwinkle or warrener. It can be found in large numbers around the mid-tide mark on most shores, and is easily sighted in shallow rock pools at low tide. The operculum (‘trap door’ at the entrance of the shell) is smooth with a centrally located callus (hump). Turban shells (periwinkles or warreners) as well as abalone were one of the most popular shellfish for Tasmanian Aboriginals, evident from the contents of shell middens in the banks adjacent to the foreshore. Turban shells are still a popular food, and are sometimes harvested on a recreational basis for their fleshy foot. This is not recommended in the Derwent because of historic metal contamination – see our seafood safety section for more information. Smashed turban shells are a common sight along the foreshore of Derwent rocky reefs. They are readily eaten by pacific gulls, with birds breaking the strong shells by dropping them onto rocks from a great height to access the fleshy body inside.

Much of the text within the species area of our website was written by Veronica Thorpe, as part of the Derwent River Wildlife Guide (2000).

The DEP has developed a variety of classroom and outdoor activities focused around the key estuary habitats of tidal wetlands, salt marshes and rocky reefs. These include classroom materials, online resources, interpretive walks, games and sensory experiences.