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From: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

 I·an·thi·na n.; pl. L. Ianthinæ E. Ianthinas   Zool. Any gastropod of the genus Ianthina, of which various species are found living in mid ocean; -- called also purple shell, and violet snail. [Written also janthina.]
 Note:It floats at the surface by means of a raft, which it constructs by forming and uniting together air bubbles of hardened mucus. The Tyrian purple of the ancients was obtained in part from mollusks of this genus.