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Phylum Mollusca > Class Gastropoda > Family Cypraeidea
Arabian cowrie
Mauritia arabica
Family Cypraeidae
updated Oct 2016
Where seen? This amazing snail is among the large cowries sometimes seen near reefs on our Southern shores. It is more active at night. It was previously known as Cypraea arabica.

Features: 5-8cm. The shell pattern on the upperside is variable, generally bluish with fine dotted brown lines. The underside has brown spots on the outer edges and brown 'teeth'. Those encountered were not seen with mantle covering the entire shell.

Human uses: It is collected for food by coastal dwellers and the shell is used for shellcraft and for the shell trade.

Status and threats: It is listed as 'Vulnerable' on the Red List of threatened animals of Singapore, due to habitat loss and overcollection. According to the Singapore Red Data Book: although "specimens can still be found they are much less abundant than in the 1960's."

Labrador, Jun 05

Underside with spots and brown 'teeth'.

Tanah Merah, Oct 09

Kusu Island, May 05

Animal emerging from shell.

Arabian cowries on Singapore shores

Photos of Arabian cowries for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

Tanah Merah, Jul 09

Photo shared byJames Koh on his blog.

Tanah Merah, Jul 09
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on her blog.

East Coast Park Big Splash, Jun 15

Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.

Seringat Kias, Apr 12
Photo shared by Russel Low on facebook.

South Cyrene, Oct 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Pulau Hantu, Jun 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Sisters Island, Aug 09
Photo shared by Liana Tang on her blog.



  • 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.
  • Tan, K. S. & L. M. Chou, 2000. A Guide to the Common Seashells of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 160 pp.
  • Abbott, R. Tucker, 1991. Seashells of South East Asia. Graham Brash, Singapore. 145 pp.
  • Davison, G.W. H. and P. K. L. Ng and Ho Hua Chew, 2008. The Singapore Red Data Book: Threatened plants and animals of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore). 285 pp.
  • Kuiter, Rudie H and Helmut Debelius. 2009. World Atlas of Marine Fauna. IKAN-Unterwasserachiv. 723pp.
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