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Phylum Mollusca > Class Gastropoda > Family Cypraeidea
Milk-spotted cowrie
Lyncina vitellus
Family Cypraeidae
updated Jul 2020
Where seen? This large cowrie was seen only once at Kusu Island. Elsewhere, they are found on coral reefs and rocky shores. It was previously called Cypraea vitellus.

About 7cm, can grow to 10cm. Shell oval to pear-shaped, yellowish brown with two faint paler bands and scattering of white dots of various sizes. Underside white including the 'teeth'. The living animal has a yellow and black mantle.

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 food and the shell for the shell trade.

Kusu Island, Aug 04


Milk-spotted cowries on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore 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.
  • Abbott, R. Tucker, 1991. Seashells of South East Asia. Graham Brash, Singapore. 145 pp.
  • 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.
  • Kuiter, Rudie H and Helmut Debelius. 2009. World Atlas of Marine Fauna. IKAN-Unterwasserachiv. 723pp.
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