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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.

Shell description

10 shells of Credidula fornicata
This sea snail has an arched, rounded shell. On the inside of the shell there is a white "deck" which causes the shell to resemble a boat or a slipper, hence the common names.


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

Nonindigenous distribution

The species is considered an invasive species in Denmarkmarker, Francemarker, Italymarker, the Netherlandsmarker, Spainmarker, and the UKmarker, and has also spread to Norwaymarker and Swedenmarker. It is known to damage oyster fisheries. It has also been introduced to the Pacific Northwest and Japanmarker.

Crepidula fornicata is considered among 100 worst alien species in Europe in DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gateway, and this is one of the two marine gastropods among these one hundred ones.



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.

Life cycle

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.


  1. Global Invasive Species Database
  2. Joint Nature Conservation Committee
  3. Marine Life Information Network for Britain and Ireland
  4. DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gateway. Arion vulgaris. Last updated 30 October 2006, accessed 27 September 2009.
  5. Global Invasive Species Database

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