Colus gracilis

(da Costa, 1778)

Description (shell):
Shell tall, fusiform, with eight to ten almost flat-sided whorls, sutures shallow. Sculpture of numerous, narrow, strap-like spiral striae and crescentic growth lines. Striae slightly stronger towards base of shell, about 60 on last whorl, 18 on penultimate. Periostracum thin, often slightly hispid, usually worn away from a triangular area to left of apex of aperture. Protoconch swollen, up to 3 mm diameter, set obliquely on spire. Aperture elongate-oval, pointed apically, with slight anal sinus, drawn out basally into broad, rather short siphonal canal (about 15 % of shell height); canal inclined sharply to left (C. gracilis-photo).

Up to 70 x 28 mm.

White, with light horn coloured periostracum.

Cephalic tentacles short, flat, with eyes half-way along. Foot with double-edged anterior margin and slight anterio-lateral horns; females with opening of ventral pedal gland on sole; operculum small, pear-shaped, with a terminal nucleus.

On sandy and muddy substrata from 30-80 m; occasionally intertidal in north of range, where it is also more common.

Distributed from Norway to Portugal; rare in southern North Sea and Channel (Distr. C. gracilis).