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Phylum Mollusca > Class Gastropoda
Belongkeng or Mangrove ear snails
Family Ellobiidae
updated Jul 2020

Where seen? These snails with thick shells are sometimes seen on leaves and trunks of mangrove trees or on the mud in the back mangroves. They are sometimes also called Mangrove helmet shell snails. Empty shells of dead snails are sometimes also washed up on shores near mangroves.

Features: 1-5cm. Shells thick. They breathe air (instead of through gills like most other marine snails) and all lack an operculum to seal the shell opening. Thus, the shell opening of small ones do resemble an ear.

What do they eat? They graze on algae and lichen growing on mangrove trees and debris.

Two different kinds of Belongkeng snails
Pasir Ris, Jun 10

Sometimes seen in small groups on mangrove tree trunks.
Sungei Buloh Besar, Apr 11
Human uses: The larger snails are eaten as traditional and subsistence food in some coastal communities.

Status and threats: The Mangrove land snail (Ellobium scheepmakeri) is listed as 'Critically Endangered' on the list of threatened animals of Singapore due to habitat loss. Like other creatures of the intertidal zone, they are affected by human activities such as reclamation and pollution. Overcollection can also have an impact on local populations.

Some Belongkeng snails on Singapore shores

Family Ellobiidae recorded for Singapore
from Tan Siong Kiat and Henrietta P. M. Woo, 2010 Preliminary Checklist of The Molluscs of Singapore.

  Family Ellobiidae
  Auriculastra brachyspira
Auriculastra duplicata
Auriculastra oparica
Auriculastra semiplicata
Auriculastra siamensis
Auriculastra subula

Blauneria quadrasi

Cassidula sp. (Mangrove ear snail)
Cassidula aurisfelis
(Cat's ear mangrove ear snail)
Cassidula doliolum
Cassidula nucleus
(Banded mangrove ear snail)=Cassidula mustelina
Cassidula sowerbyana
Cassidula vespertilionis

Ellobium sp. (Belongkeng snail)
Ellobium aurisjudae
Ellobium aurismidae
Ellobium scheepmakeri
(Mangrove land snail) (CR: Critically endangered)=Ellobium aurismalchi
Ellobium tornatelliforme

Laemodonta minuta
Laemodonta punctatostriata
Laemodonta punctigera
Laemodonta siamensis
Laemodonta typica

Melampus flavus
Melampus fasciatus
Melampus nucleolus
Melampus pulchellus
(Pretty ear-snail)
Melampus sincaporensis

Microtralia alba

Pythia sp. (Pythia snail)
Pythia plicata
Pythia scarabaeu
Pythia trigona



  • Chan Sow-Yan & Lau Wing Lup. 30 July 2020. Sightings of pretty ear-snails, Melampus pulchellus, in Singapore. Singapore Biodiversity Records 2020: 94-97 ISSN 2345-7597
  • Chan Sow-Yan & Lau Wing Lup. 30 July 2020. Sightings of live Auriculastra brachyspira snails in Singapore. Singapore Biodiversity Records 2020: 91-93 ISSN 2345-7597
  • Chan Sow-Yan & Lau Wing Lup. 29 May 2020. Examples of live ear-snails, Laemodonta punctigera, in Singapore. Singapore Biodiversity Records 2020: 66-67 ISSN 2345-7597
  • 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, S. K., S. H. Tan & M. E. Y. Low. 25 Aug 2009. On Ellobium aurismalchi (Muller, 1774) (Mollusca: Ellobiidae). Nature in Singapore, 2: 357-359.
  • Tan, K. S. & L. M. Chou, 2000. A Guide to the Common Seashells of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 160 pp.
  • Wee Y.C. and Peter K. L. Ng. 1994. A First Look at Biodiversity in Singapore. National Council on the Environment. 163pp.
  • 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.
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