Acteon tornatilis
Linnaeus, 1758

Superfamily: ACTEONOIDEA
Family: Acteonidae


North Atlantic coast of Europe from Iceland and Norway, British Isles, France, and the Mediterranean.


Aberavon Beach, Port Talbot, on sand, South Wales, UK, 26 August 2006, sandy beach. Length: 2 cm. Photographer: Judith Oakley

Primitive opisthobranch with a heavily calcified spiral shell. The shell is pinkish brown with two white bands on the body whorl. The white animal can fully retract into the shell. There is a thin horny operculum.

The extended animal reaches about 3 cm in length and is found burrowing in sandy sediments from the low intertidal to over 200 meters. It is reported to feed on polychaete worms such as Owenia fusiformis and Lanice conchilega.

  • Hurst, A. (1965) Studies on the structure and function of the feeding apparatus of Philine aperta with a comparative consideration of some other opisthobranchs. Malacologia, 2(3): 281-347.
  • Thompson, T. E. (1976) Biology of opisthobranch molluscs. Vol 1. London, Ray Society no. 151.  1-207.
  • Thompson, T. E. (1988) Molluscs: Benthic Opisthobranchs (Mollusca: Gastropoda). Leiden, The Linnean Society of London.  1-356.
  • Yonow, N. (1989) Feeding observations on Acteon tornatilis (Linnaeus) (Opisthobranchia: Acteonidae). Journal of Molluscan Studies 55: 97-102.
Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 2006 (October 27) Acteon tornatilis Linnaeus, 1758. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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