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Phylum Mollusca > Class Gastropoda > Family Architectonicidae
Variegated sundial snail
Heliacus variegatus

Family Architectonicidae
updated Sep 2020

Where seen? The snail with a unique operculum is sometimes seen on our Southern shores.

Features: Up to 2cm in diameter. Shell thick and coiled to form an overall conical shape. Coils have a beaded texture, colours usually alternating dark and light. The operculum is conical with regular grooves and resembles a drill! Body mottled with long tentacles.

What does it eat? It feeds on zoanthids and is said to be always found in close association with zoanthids.

Baby sundials: It lays long egg strings.

St John's Island, Feb 13

Operculum is conical and resembles a drill.
St John's Island, Feb 13

St John's Island, Feb 13

Variegated sundial snails on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

Cyrene Reef, Jun 08
Photo shared by Chim Chee Kong on flickr.

Cyrene Reef, Jun 08
Photo shared by Chim Chee Kong on flickr.

Grateful thanks to Chim Chee Kong for identifying this snail on his flickr.



  • Tan Siong Kiat and Henrietta P. M. Woo, 2010 Preliminary Checklist of The Molluscs of Singapore (pdf), Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore.
  • Gosliner, Terrence M., David W. Behrens and Gary C. Williams. 1996. Coral Reef Animals of the Indo-Pacific: Animal life from Africa to Hawaii exclusive of the vertebrates Sea Challengers. 314pp.
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