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Phylum Mollusca > Class Gastropoda > Family Melongenidae
Ternate false fusus
Hemifusus ternatanus*

Family Melongenidae
updated Aug 2020
Where seen? This large snail is rarely seen alive, so far only on our Northern shores. Although the empty shell is sometimes seen, usually occupied by a hermit crab.

Features: 7-12cm. Shell large, thick with a long siphonal canal. Operculum teardrop-shaped and made out of a horn-like material. Body pale with black speckles.

'Hairy' shell: The shell of a living snail 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. 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.

Sometimes confused with the more commonly seen Spiral melongena, which has a shorter siphonal canal and a black body. The Ternate false fusus is much more slender and has paler body.

Upper side of living snail.
Changi, Aug 14

Fine hairs on the shell of a living snail shell.

The animal's body is pale
with black speckles..

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

Ternate false fusus 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.
  • Chan, S.-Y., 2009.  The Melongenidae (Mollusca: Gastropoda) of Singapore. Nature in Singapore, 2: 63–67.
  • 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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