Neptunea lyrata

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Ridged whelk:
Ridged whelk (Neptunea lyrata): Typically subtidal, this whelk is also encountered intertidally near Wrangell and Petersburg (where it can be abundant). Distinguished from the far more common Oregon triton (Fusitriton oregonensis) by ridges that are parallel to the whorls rather than their axis.

Neptunea lyrata has a fascinating taxonomic history. The name has been applied to the common species found from Alaska to Washington State. It has a light background and dark spiral ribs. However, in 2003 researchers found the type specimen and were surprised to find that it was a different species than what most have been calling Neptunea lyrata! As described, Neptunea lyrata have a dark aperture, are smaller, and have much finer ribs that seen in the widespread and common species typically called by that name. The common species formerly known as Neptunea lyrata, currently being examined by taxonomists, is likely undescribed.

Other subtidal species of Neptunea in the area, such as White neptune (Neptunea amianta) (found in deep crab pots) has more rounded whorls and Pribby (Neptunea pribiloffensis) a more rounded opening.

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