Angled Olive Shell
Oliva Con Escritura, Caracol de Oliva
(Oliva incressata)

Angled Olive Shell, Oliva incressata: The Angled Olive Shell is a thick shell that is angularly swollen above the middle resulting in a distinctive profile. It has a creamy white color with a fine zig-zag pattern of brown markings.

The columellar area is pink. They range in size to 7.5 cm (3.0 inches).

They are found in sand intertidally on the outside of sand spits at extremely low tides and range from Magdalena Bay south along the west coast of Baja, throughout the Sea of Cortez and south to Peru.

Angled Olive Shells are presently one of the most sought after shells in the Western Hemisphere being used to make decorative jewelry and rattles and are also sold for shell collections commanding high prices via the internet trade.

The Angled Olive Shell is a large sized member of the Olividae Family, the Olive Shells. The Olive Shells have in excess of 100 global members from 7 genera and are found worldwide, in subtropical and tropical seas and oceans. The animals are large predatory sea snails being classified as marine gastropods mollusks. Olive Shells have brilliantly polished smooth, skinny, elongated, oval shaped shells. The shells have a long aperture and a channeled suture on the low well developed stepped spire. They have a siphonal notch at the posterior end of a long narrow aperture from which the siphon protrudes. The inner lip is wrinkled but does not have a wide callus area. They have relatively high spires. They reach 4.8 cm in length and 2.8 cm in width. They are found intertidally and subtidally over sandy substrate. The animals plow just below the surface leaving a characteristic trail. They are carnivores, feeding mostly on bivalves and carrion, and some are reported to be cannibals. They have been dated, via fossils, to the Campanian Period, 83 to 71 million years ago.

Angled Olive Shell picture

Angled Olive Shell picture

Angled Olive Shell, Oliva incressata: Collected off a beach in the greater Los Cabos area, Baja California Sur, Mexico, in March 2011. Size 5.0 cm (2.0 inches) x 2.5 cm (1.0 inches). Description and photos courtesy of John Snow.