seen? It is rare to come across the living snail but the
shells of dead snails are often encountered on our Northern shores.
The empty shell is usually occupied by a hermit crab!
Features: 6-7cm long, it has slender,
curving spines and a long siphonal canal. It has 3-4 short spines
on half the siphonal canal closest to the shell. This long siphonal
canal helps the animal protect its siphon while it pokes into places
to look for food. While the spines may help protect it from predators,
it does make it difficult for the animal to move about among seagrasses
and seaweeds. So the animal usually moves by holding the shell high
above the bottom as it moves across the surface.
Changi, Aug 08
Long tentacles and muscular foot.
|What does it eat? Like other drills
(Family Muricidae) the Rare-spined murex snail can drill through the
shells of clams and snails.
This one was clasping a bivalve.
Changi, Aug 08
Empty shells are commonly seen.
Changi, Aug 05
|Human uses: It is sometimes collected
as food by coastal dwellers (e.g., in Malaysia) and for its shell
for the shell trade.
and threats: This snail is listed as 'Vulnerable' on the
Red List of threatened animals of Singapore. It is now seldom seen.
Like other creatures of the intertidal zone, they are affected by
human activities such as reclamation and pollution. Trampling by careless
visitors and over-collection can also have an impact on local populations.
murex on Singapore shores
|Other sightings on Singapore shores
Tanah Merah, Aug 09
Photo shared by James Koh on flickr.
East Coast Park, May 21
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.
- 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.
- Ng, P. K.
L. & Y. C. Wee, 1994. The
Singapore Red Data Book: Threatened Plants and Animals of Singapore.
The Nature Society (Singapore), Singapore. 343 pp.
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.
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.