Lettered olive

Lettered olive
Lettered olive
Three shells of the lettered olive
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
Order: Neogastropoda
(unranked): clade Caenogastropoda
clade Hypsogastropoda
clade Neogastropoda
Superfamily: Olivoidea
Family: Olividae
Subfamily: Olivinae
Genus: Oliva
Species: O. sayana
Binomial name
Oliva sayana
Ravenel, 1834

Oliva litterata Lamarck, 1811
Strephona litterata (Lamarck, 1811)
Oliva citrina C. W. Johnson, 1911
Oliva maya Petuch & Sargent, 1986
Oliva contoyensis Petuch, 1988

The lettered olive, Oliva sayana, is a species of large predatory sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusc in the family Olividae, the olive shells, olive snails, or olives.



Oliva sayana contains the following subspecies:[2]

  • Oliva sayana sarasotensis Petuch & Sargent, 1986
  • Oliva sayana sayana Ravenel, 1834
  • Oliva sayana texana Petuch & Sargent, 1986


The species' range is from North Carolina to Florida and the Gulf states of North America, ingluding Louisiana and Texas; It also occurs in Mexico, including Campeche State, Yucatán State and Quintana Roo[1], and may also occur in Brazil.[citation needed]


The lettered olive typically lives in near-shore waters, on shallow sand flats near inlets. The empty shell is occasionally, or sometimes commonly, washed up onto ocean beaches.[citation needed]

Shells of Oliva sayana
Shells of Oliva sayana

Shell description

The shell of this species can be about 6 cm (2½ in) long (maximum reported size reaches 9.1 cm[1]). It is a smooth, shiny, cylindrical-shaped shell with a short spire. The aperture is narrow and extending almost the length of shell, continuing around the bottom and ending in a notch on the other side. The suture is V-cut and deep. The lower part of the whorl is just above where the suture extends outward and then at a sharp shoulder drops into the suture.

The shell coloration can vary from cream to a greyish exterior with reddish-brown zigzag markings. The common name of this species is derived from the darker surface markings that sometimes resemble letters.

Life habits

This olive, like all olives, is a carnivore: it captures bivalves and small crustaceans with its foot and takes them below the sand surface to digest.[citation needed]

Its presence is sometimes detected at very low tides by the trails it leaves when it crawls below the surface on semi-exposed sand flats.[citation needed]

Females lay floating, round egg capsules that are often found in beach drift. Young are free swimming.[citation needed]

Human use

Colonists and early Native Americans made jewelry from these shells.[citation needed]

The lettered olive is the state shell of South Carolina.


  1. ^ a b c Malacolog 4.1.1: Western Atlantic Mollusk Species Database. Retrieved April 2010.
  2. ^ Oliva sayana Ravenel, 1834.  Accessed through: World Register of Marine Species at http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=208387  on 26 April 2010.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужен реферат?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Olive shell — Olive Snail Shells of Lettered olive, Oliva sayana Scientific classification Kingdom …   Wikipedia

  • olive shell — 1. any marine gastropod of the family Olividae, having a polished, highly colored, elongated shell and a large mantle that, when extended, surrounds the shell. 2. the shell itself. [1880 85] * * * ▪ marine snail       any of the marine snails… …   Universalium

  • Oliva (gastropod) — Oliva Three shells of the lettered olive, Oliva sayana Scientific classification Kingdom …   Wikipedia

  • Oliva (genus) — Taxobox name = Oliva image caption = Lettered olive, Oliva sayana regnum = Animalia phylum = Mollusca classis = Gastropoda subclassis = Orthogastropoda superordo = Caenogastropoda ordo = Sorbeoconcha subordo = Hypsogastropoda infraordo =… …   Wikipedia

  • List of South Carolina state symbols — The State of South Carolina has many official state symbols, holidays and designations and they have been selected to represent the history, resources, and possibilities of the state. The palmetto and crescent moon of the state flag is South… …   Wikipedia

  • Olivoidea — A growth series of three shells of the lettered olive, in the family Olividae Scientific classification Kingdom …   Wikipedia

  • Oliva — ? Oliva Oliva sayana …   Википедия

  • Wild Dunes — (Айл оф Палмс,США) Категория отеля: 4 звездочный отель Адрес: 1 Sundial Circle, Айл оф Палм …   Каталог отелей

  • List of birds of Colombia — This is a list of the bird species recorded in Colombia. The avifauna of Colombia includes a total of 1895 species, of which 74 are endemic, 2 have been introduced by humans, and 87 are rare or accidental. 1 species listed is extirpated in… …   Wikipedia

  • List of birds of Ecuador — This is a list of the bird species recorded in Ecuador. The avifauna of Ecuador includes a total of 1663 species, of which 16 are endemic, 2 have been introduced by humans, and 19 are rare or accidental. 77 species are globally threatened.This… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”