See other species here.


Littorinidae species (‘True’ Periwinkle)
Neritidae species (Nerite) 
Turbo species (Turban Shells)


Sea Snails


These shells vary in size and shape, as the name refers to a number of different families. ‘True’ Periwinkles are squat, while nerites are more rounded and Turban Shells are conical. The shells are often rough or ridged with a circular opening, and always have an operculum, the protective flap covering the opening.

They are found right around the Australian coast in intertidal zones and around shallow reefs, usually to depths of about 20m; Turban Shells are found on the bottom of pools on weed-covered intertidal reefs. Periwinkles are harvested by hand from the Wild and Turban Shells are harvested by divers off eastern Tasmania. Trochus Shells are also included under the general name Periwinkle.

Other Names

Sea Snail, Turban, Turbo, Warrener, Wary Turbo.


Littorinidae (Periwinkles), Neritidae (Nerites) and Turbinidae (Turban Shells).


Available year round, though supply is limited.

Size and Weight

Usually harvested at 7cm or less, though some, such as the green snail (Turbo marmoratus) can grow up to 20cm.


Low priced.


Bailer, Trochus, Tulip Shell, Tun Shell and other gastropods.

To Buy

Sold live. Look for brightly coloured, intact, lustrous shells, firm flesh that retracts when touched (showing that it’s still alive), and a pleasant fresh sea smell.

To Store

Live molluscs should be consumed as soon as possible after purchase. Place in a container, cover with damp paper or cloth and keep in the warmest part of the refrigerator, usually the crisper (optimum 5ºC), ensuring that the covering remains damp.

To Cook

Average yield is 35%. Has a mildly salty flavour, low oiliness and firm flesh.

Cooking Methods

Boil or steam shells for about 10 minutes, until the meat can be extracted using a fork, pin or special pick. Serve with a dressing, in salads or pickle. The firm flesh holds together well in soups, curries and casseroles and they are occasionally baked, pan-fried or eaten raw.

Goes Well With

Bacon, butter, chilli, coriander, fennel, garlic, herbs, lemon, lime, mayonnaise, olive oil, onion, parsley, pepper, Pernod, tomato, vinegar, white wine.






Periwinkles with Aïoli