shelled snails text index | photo index
Phylum Mollusca > Class Gastropoda > Family Muricidae
Reef murex
Chicoreus sp.*
Family Muricidae
updated Oct 2016

Where seen? This large but well camouflaged snail is usually found on boulders, rocks and hard surfaces as well as sandy areas near coral reefs on our Southern shores.

Features: 5-7cm long. Shell thick with rows of fronds or spikes along the length of the shell. There are usually three spikes along the siphonal canal. The shell opening is smooth, operculum is made of a horn-like material.

The following are the two commonly seen murex snails found on and near our reefs. They are difficult to tell apart for certain in the field.

Chicoreus brunneus (Burnt murex) is more squat, rhomboid in outline, with white or light pink shell opening and deep pink lips.

Chicoreus torrefactus (Firebrand murex) is more slender, more pointed at both ends (spindle-shaped) with white shell opening and yellow or orange lips.

What does it eat? Like other drills in the Family Muricidae, this snail can also drill through shells. They are said to feed extensively on the venus clam Gafrarium (Family Veneridae) by drilling a neat hole through the shell. We have often seen them suspiciously clasping a Bazillion snail (Batillaria zonalis).

Human uses: Elsewhere, it is frequently collected for food and its shell used for shellcraft. In some places, populations have been greatly reduced due to over-collection.

Tanah Merah, Aug 09
 

Eating a Bazillion snail?
Tanah Merah, Apr 12

Lazarus Island, Feb 11

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

Reef murex on Singapore shores

Photos of Reef murex for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map


East Coast Park Big Splash, May 15
Photo shared by Jianlin Liu on facebook.

Terumbu Buran, Nov 10
Photo shared by James Koh on flickr.

St John's Island, May 09
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.


Sisters Island, Aug 09
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Kusu Island, May 09
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Pulau Tekukor, Oct 12
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on flickr.


Cyrene Reef, Dec 10

Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Cyrene Reef, Feb 16
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.


Pulau Semakau South, Feb 16
Photo shared by Jianlin Liu on facebook.

Terumbu Bemban, Apr 11
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on her blog.

Terumbu Bemban, Jul 11
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.


Raffles Lighthouse, Nov 16
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.

Pulau Senang, Aug 10

Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his flickr.


Terumbu Salu, Jan 10

Terumbu Buran, Nov 10

Links

References

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Abbott, R. Tucker, 1991. Seashells of South East Asia. Graham Brash, Singapore. 145 pp.
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