stunning snail with a golden-brown shell is sometimes seen on our
undisturbed Northern shores, in silty sandy areas near seagrasses
and coral rubble. Elsewhere, it is found in coral rubble and muddy
areas including mangroves. It was previously known as Cypraea onyx.
Features: 3-4cm, up to 6cm. Shell is pear-shaped, dark
brown often with two or three bands of gold across it. The underside
is black with an orange tinge on the 'teeth'. The mantle may be golden
yellow speckled with black spots, white blotches and short white projections.
Sometimes mistaken for a sea
slug. When the shell is completely covered in its mantle, it is
sometimes mistaken for a sea slug. Here's more on how
to tell apart slugs and animals that look like slugs.
Human uses: It is collected for subsistence food by coastal dwellers
and the shell for the shell trade.
Close up of 'teeth'.
Underside covered with mantle.
cowries on Singapore shores
East Coast Park Big Splash, Jun 15
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.
Pulau Ubin, Dec 12
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.
cowrie (Cypraea onyx) on SeaLife Base: Technical
- Onyx cowrie
(Cypraea onyx) in
the Gastropods section by J.M. Poutiers in the FAO Species Identification
Guide for Fishery Purposes: The Living Marine Resources of the
Western Central Pacific Volume
1: Seaweeds, corals, bivalves and gastropods on the Food
and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) website.
- 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.
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.
- Kuiter, Rudie
H and Helmut Debelius. 2009. World
Atlas of Marine Fauna. IKAN-Unterwasserachiv. 723pp.