dejayM's picture

Grey Top Shell

Observed: 25th April 2013 By: dejayM
Biological Recording In ScotlandHighland Biological Recording GroupOrkney Biodiversity Records Centre
dejayM’s reputation in InvertebratesdejayM’s reputation in InvertebratesdejayM’s reputation in InvertebratesdejayM’s reputation in Invertebrates
stress marks?

flattish; grey; patterned; numerous. Are there stress marks on these (picture 3)?

Species interactions

No interactions present.


nightfly's picture

Yes Derek, I can see that

Yes Derek,

I can see that damage there as in the painted topshells in the other observation. The only reason I didnt agree your ID above is because I also see these seemingly flattened versions of Grey Top Shell also on my local shores and they seem so significantly different in shape to the more peaked ones, I just dont know for certain that they are Gibbula cineraria? They look exactly like them but 'flattened'.


dejayM's picture


Thanks Cathal. I guess you see G.umbellicaris as a likely candidate and I'm up for it.
I will need to collect some more during the week and do some b'metrics perhaps.
I can't see it generating more agreements though.
It is much less common here - only one record from the Orkney Southern Isles and none where I found these (NBN)

nightfly's picture

Hi Derek, I think your shells

Hi Derek, I think your shells above are much more like a flattened cineraria than a flattened umbilicalis to be honest. They might well be G. cineraria- I just dont know if the species comes in peaked and flat versions? They dont appear to be as boldly barred as umbilicalis nor as purple.


nightfly's picture

Hi Derek, Im replying here

Hi Derek,

Im replying here in relation to what Ive said above. In the light of a very good link posted by Chris on Graham's recent observation, it seems clear that Gibbula cineraria does infact come in tall and flat versions. The linked page shows why. G. cineraria is quite flat spired when a juvenile and it becomes progressively taller as it matures. At least thats what Malcolm Storey's 5th photo of cineraria depicts:

This explains the smallness of all the very flat looking G. cineraria and the absence of flat versions of it as a mature mollusc.

I believe your pictures above show this very well- look how small those flat shells on the coin are compared to the mature shell beside the coin.


dejayM's picture


Yes Cathal, they may be indeed (I have assumed from the beginning, they are cineraria). But as I am trying to broadcast that it's more enlightening to get informed (and encouraging) comment than a definitive ID, I'm comfortable.
I will do some 'metrics tomorrow. I went to the Scapa shore just now (as you do!) but simply got embroiled in another wet mystery (Littorina viride!) "No such thing" I hear you shout but wait for my post!

ChrisMcA's picture

Cineraria/grey has very

Cineraria/grey has very narrow vertical 'stripes' but umbilicus/flat & Pennants fewer

dejayM's picture


C. Yep, my books concur but there is a lot of variation - not as much as in 'my' periwinkles here
They also seem to wear more heavily and that may account for a flatter appearance.
Thanks but, you know, as it's the first time I've offered TWO IDs, it is good viewing and reading for anyone else (other than about five of us!)
Hope so.
Thanks for the agreement too.