Tent Olive (Oliva porphyria) - ROM2004_861_15

Tent olive, Oliva porphyria

Tent Olive (Oliva porphyria)

Geography: Mexico; North and Central America
length=11.5; width=5.0 cm
    • Attributes
    • Objects
    • Taxonomy
    • KingdomAnimalia
    • PhylumMollusca
    • ClassGastropoda
    • OrderNeogastropoda
    • FamilyOlividae
    • GenusOliva
    • SpecificEpithetporphyria
Object number: ROMIZ M12444
On view
DescriptionThe largest member of the olive family, the tent olive or camp olive has striking chestnut brown tent-like (chevron) markings on a flesh-coloured background. Unfortunately the evolutionary origins and functions of the various colour patterns in shells are poorly understood. Its beautiful shell was collected by European explorers and sailors. Although it is moderately common, it is becoming more difficult to obtain. Tent olives occur from the Gulf of California to the Galapagos Islands but they are most often encountered in the offshore islands of Mexico and around the Perlas Islands in the Gulf of Panama. The tent olive is found in sand intertidally up to depths of 20 metres. It averages about 9 to 10 cm in length with a record specimen reaching 13.2 cm. Olives, such as this one, have an elongate, stream-lined shell allowing them to rapidly burrow through soft bottom sediments. They also possess a long broad foot (specialized body part used for locomotion) which expands to form a plow–like baffle, which deflects sediment away from the direction of motion improving their burrowing ability. Most olives leave a characteristic trail as they burrow just beneath the surface of the sandy substrate in which they live. True olives (Oliva) do not have an operculum (a lid or flap covering the aperture or opening of the shell) having adapted to a burrowing existence. These snails are carnivorous, feeding on smaller snails and bivalves, but will also consume carrion (dead flesh).
Browse Categories:Invertebrates
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