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Phylum Mollusca > Class Gastropoda > Family Melongenidae
Spiral melongena
Pugilina cochlidium

Family Melongenidae
updated Aug 2020
if you learn only 3 things about them ...
Large and common, they are overlooked as they are well camouflaged.
When its dead, the shell's orange colour is visible as tiny hairs drop off.
They lay large and and interesting egg capsules.

Where seen? This large snail is commonly seen on our muddy-sandy shores particularly on our Northern shores, on rocky shores and seagrass meadows and near mangroves.

Features: 8-12cm. Shell large, thick with a long siphonal canal. Operculum teardrop-shaped and made out of a horn-like material. Body all black.

'Hairy' shell: The shell of a living spiral melongena is covered with a layer of fine hairs (called the periostracum). These hairs trap surrounding sediment so that the snail blends perfectly into the mud. The living snail is thus rarely spotted although relatively large and common. When the snail dies, the hairs drop off revealing a glossy, orange shell. The large empty shell is often taken over by a hermit crab.

Fine hairs on the shell of a living snail.
Pulau Ubin, Feb 10

Pulau Ubin, Feb 10

The animal's body is black.
What does it eat? The spiral melongena eats barnacles. It is believed to get to the barnacle by forcing its long proboscis between the plates that seal the barnacle's shell opening.

Spiral babies: The spiral melongena is responsible for the strange yellow zipper-like egg capsules that are often encountered on rocks and other hard surfaces. The young hatch as miniature snails with a shell and a foot.

Mating and laying eggs

Changi, Aug 11

Laying eggs

Tanah Merah, Sep 11

Eggs in the capsule

Tanah Merah, Dec 11
Human uses: It is collected as food in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, and the shells used to make lime.

*Species are difficult to positively identify without close examination.
On this website, they are grouped by external features for convenience of display.

Spiral melongena snails on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

Sembawang, Dec 09
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Pulau Ubin OBS, Jan 16
Photo shared by Richard Kuah on facebook.

East Coast Park, May 16
Photo shared by Jonathan Tan on facebook.

East Coast-Marina East, Jul 20
Photo shared by Vincent Choo on facebook.

Berlayar Creek, Oct 15
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on facebook.

Cyrene Reef, Feb 16
Photo shared by Jianlin Liu on facebook.

Pulau Semakau, Feb 08
Photo shared by Dai Jiao on her flickr.

Pulau Semakau, Aug 11
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

Terumbu Semakau, Apr 13
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Terumbu Pempang Tengah, May 11
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Terumbu Pempang Darat, Jun 10
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.



  • Tan Siong Kiat and Henrietta P. M. Woo, 2010 Preliminary Checklist of The Molluscs of Singapore (pdf), Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, National University of Singapore.
  • Chan, S.-Y., 2009.  The Melongenidae (Mollusca: Gastropoda) of Singapore. Nature in Singapore, 2: 63–67.
  • Tan, K. S.; Phuah, C. L. November 1999. Diet and feeding habits of Pugilina cochlidium (Neogastropoda: Melongenidae) in Singapore. Journal of Molluscan Studies; Nov1999, Vol. 65 Issue 4, p499.
  • 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.
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