Arctic cowrie

arctic cowrie

Wembury Marine Centre

Arctic cowrie

Scientific name: Trivia arctica
One of the UK’s smallest and most delicate sea snails and an absolute favourite find for avid shell collectors when washed upon the shore empty!

Species information


1cm long, 0.8cm wide

Conservation status


When to see



Arctic cowries are often found on the rocky shore, hiding in crevices, or hanging upside down sticking to the rock with its orange muscular foot, as you can see in the image. They like to eat colonial sea squirts and are most commonly seen where their prey can also be found.

How to identify

Small cowrie with a thick, shiny, egg shaped shell, usually a pale brown/red in colour, with ridges running across the width. There are no spots on the shell of the arctic cowrie, unlike its European cousin.


Found mainly on the north and west coasts of Britain and around Ireland.

Did you know?

The arctic cowrie will lay its eggs within a colony of sea squirts, its favourite prey!

How people can help

Always follow the Seashore Code when rockpooling, be careful to leave everything as you found it - replace any rocks you turn over, put back any crabs or fish and ensure not to scrape anything off its rocky home.

If you want to learn more about our rockpool life, Wildlife Trusts around the UK run rockpool safaris and offer Shoresearch training - teaching you to survey your local rocky shore. The data collected is then used to protect our coasts and seas through better management or through the designation of Marine Protected Areas.