boat shell

Common slipper shell

The common slipper shell, Crepidula fornicata, has many other common names including common Atlantic slippersnail, boat shell, quarterdeck shell, and it is known in Britain as the "common slipper limpet". This is a species of medium-sized sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusc in the family Calyptraeidae, the slipper snails and cup and saucer snails.


The species is native to the western Atlantic Ocean, specifically the Eastern coast of North America. It has been introduced accidentally to other parts of the world and has become problematic.

As an invasive species

The species is considered an invasive species in Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK, and has also spread to Norway and Sweden. It is known to damage oyster fisheries. It has also been introduced to the Pacific Northwest and Japan.


This is a common snail, found intertidally to a depth of 40 ft (12 m).

They are often found, sometimes living stacked on top of one another, on horseshoe crabs, rocks, shells and on dock pilings.


It has an arched, rounded shell. On the inside of the shell there is a white "deck" which causes the shell to loosely resemble a boat or a slipper, hence the common names.

Life habits

The species is a sequential hermaphrodite. The largest and oldest animals, at the base of a pile are female, the younger and smaller animals at the top are male. If the females in the stack die, the largest of the males will become a female.


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