algae, hydroids, bryozoans
to 1 inch (2.5 cm)
gem top snail, channeled top snail
southeast Alaska to Baja California
This snail lives mid-stipe in the kelp, sharing its high-rise home with other top snails above and below (channeled top snails live up in the canopy; blue top snails live close to the bottom). Each species knows its proper place, and if one gets knocked off, it climbs back up to its proper spot.
Like an underwater rain forest, groves of giant kelp are home to fishes, snails, crabs and hundreds of other species. The kelp provides sheltered habitat where animals can feed and breed.
Snails graze on algae with their filelike tongues.