This species is found on the tropcial west coast of North America: in Southern Baja California, from Mexico to Peru, and in the Galápagos. This species has the longest apertural tooth developed by any gastropod. By means of this long spine or thorn (hence the common name) which grows from the tip of the snail’s aperture, they anchor themselves in the sandy and coral rubble substrate. It was formally thought that the snail uses this to pry open bivalves. These snails live under rocks, usually partially buried in coral sand. They are active nocturnally. They mainly feed on small worms and on other gastropods.

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