Species Description: Adult Nerita fulgurans ranges between ¾ inch and 1 inch in size. It has a rounded, domed shell with pronounced spiral ridges varying in thickness and separated by deep grooves (Smith 1951, Abbot 1954). The shell is patterned with vertical stripes or blurred crossing patterns of white, creamy yellow, gray, and black, perpendicular to the ridges. The underside of the shell is pale blue, concave with two large, low, poorly defined teeth on either side of the opening (Smith 1951, Abbot 1954). There are also a number of smaller teeth on the inside of the lip. The base of the shell around the opening is flattened. The operculum is a pale yellow gray (Smith 1951, Abbot 1954).
Habitat & Regional Occurrence: Nerita fulgurans is found in small pockets through Southeast Florida (Boca Raton and south), Bermuda and some Caribbean islands (Abbot 1954, Frey 2011). Like related nerites, N. fulgurans occurs in high rocky intertidal zones (Stephenson & Stephenson 1950, Gilinsky 1984). It can also be found near sandy shores with associated seagrass beds, in mangrove stands and forests, and on muddy cobblestone shores. N. fulgurans prefers brackish water (Chiussi et al. 2001, Frey 2011).
Physical Tolerances: Not much is known about the physical tolerances of N. fulgurans, although they are adversely affected by sediment in the water column (Gilinsky 1984). They likely have a fair range of salinity tolerance but may respond badly to extremes in salinity (Frey 2011).
Size, Lifespan & Reproduction: N. fulgurans has a lifespan of up to 6 years (Powell & Cummins 1985). It is mature at a size of about ¾ of an inch. The mating of this species has not been studied, but is likely similar to those of other nerites, in which the male positions himself on top of and at a slight angle to the female and deposits spermatophore packets via a tube connecting the male's cephalic penis and the female's genital opening. The female then stores these spermatophore packets for future use (Chislett 1969).
Life history traits such as production of egg sacs, larval dispersal, and duration of juvenile life can vary significantly even between similar or closely related species, and thus cannot be inferred for this species. However, it is likely that N. fulgurans incorporates spherulites, small, rounded, hard inorganic objects produced by the female, into their egg sacs for protection. Congeners Nerita peloronta, Nerita tessellata, and Nerita versicolor, occurring in overlapping ranges and the same habitats, are all known to incorporate spherulites into their egg casings (Andrews 1937). N. fulgurans however does not commonly co-occur with these congeners (Stephenson & Stephenson 1950).
Abbot RT. 1954. American Seashells. D. Van. Nostrand Company Inc. Toronto.
Andrews, E. A. 1937. Spherulites as Specific Characters in Certain Gastropods. Blackwell Publishing, Transactions of the American Microscopical Society, 56: 237-242.
Bovbjerg, R. V. 1984. Habitat Selection in Two Intertidal Snails, Genus Nerita. Bulletin of Marine Science, 34: 185-196.
Chislett, G. R. 1969. Comparative Aspects of the Ecology of Three Nerita (Mollusca: Gastropoda) Species From Different Locations in Barbados, W.I. MS thesis. McGill University, Montreal.
Chiussi, R. H., Diaz, D. Rittschoff, R. B. Forward Jr. 2001. Orientation of the Hermit Crab Clibanarius antillensis: Effects of Visual and Chemical Cues. Journal of Crustacean Biology, 21: 593-605.
Chiussi, R., and Humberto D. 2002. A Laboratory study on the visual and chemical orientation of the gastropod Nerita fulgurans Gmelin, 1791. Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology 35: 167-177.
Gilinsky, N. L. 1984. Does Archaeogastropod Respiration Fail in Turbid Water? Palaeobiology, 10: 459-468.
Frey, M. A. 2011. “Neritopsine Gastropods: Nerita fulgurans, Gmelin, 1791”. http://neritopsine.lifedesks.org/pages/623 Accessed Nov. 8, 2011.
Morris, P. A. 1975. A Field Guide to Shells; Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and the West Indies (The Peterson Field Guide Series) 3rd Ed. Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston, New York.
Powell, E. N, and H. Cummins. 1985. Are Molluscan Maximum Life Spans Determined by Long-Term Cycles in Benthic Communities? Oecologia, 67: 177-182.
Smith, M. 1951. East Coast Marine Shells, 4th Ed. Edwards Brothers Inc. Ann Arbor, Michigan
Stephenson, T. A., and A. Stephenson. 1950. Life between Tide Marks in North America: the Florida Keys. Journal of Ecology, 38: 354-402.