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Phylum Mollusca > Class Gastropoda > Family Cypraeidea
Arabian cowrie
Mauritia arabica
Family Cypraeidae
updated Jul 2020
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. Shell egg-shaped, generally bluish with pattern of fine dotted brown lines, but patterns vary. Underside pale beige to light orange with brown spots and brown or orange 'teeth'. The living animal has a mantle covered with fine white 'hairs'. Siphon and tentacles black. So far, we have not encountered a living animal with the mantle covering the entire shell.

Labrador, Jun 05

'Teeth' brown or orange.

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

East Coast Park, Jul 20
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.

East Coast Park, Jul 20
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.
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."

Tanah Merah, Oct 09

Kusu Island, May 05

Arabian cowries on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

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.

Sentosa Serapong, Apr 19
Photo shared by Liz Lim on facebook.

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

St. John's Island, Apr 21
Photo shared by James Koh on flickr.

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

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

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

Pulau Salu, Apr 21
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.



  • 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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