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Phylum Mollusca > Class Gastropoda > Family Naticidae
Oval moon snail
Polinices mammilla
Family Naticidae
updated Oct 2016

Where seen? This rather oval white moon snail is often encountered on many our Southern sandy shores. Elsewhere, it is abundant on sandy bottoms associated with coral reefs.

Features: 5-6cm. Shell thick and oval, the spiral tip smoothly sticking out so the overall shape resembles a teardrop or breast (mammilla means 'breast' in Latin). The shell is usually white, glossy and unmarked, but sometimes with large irregular patches of brown, black, orange or yellow. The underside is usually completely white, often with a large bump and shallow depression next to the bump. Operculum made of a thin horn-like material and is smooth and amber yellow. Body plain white. It's hard to get a good look at the entire body as the snail retracts quickly and completely into the shell when it is disturbed.

Sometimes mistaken for the Ball moon snail (Polinices didyma) that is easily distinguished by its round shell which has a brown-coloured blotch on the underside.

Human uses: Elsewhere, it is collected in large quantities for food and the shell trade. In Thailand, it is actively collected at low tide by hand and sold by weight for shell craft, in batches of 5,000-10,000 shells.

Kusu Island, May 06

St. John's Island, Apr 12

Tanah Merah, Aug 09

Sentosa, Jun 09

Kusu Island, Jul 11

Sisters Island, Aug 09

Oval moon snails on Singapore shores

Photos Oval moon snails for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

East Coast Park, Mar 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Pulau Semakau East, Jul 15
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.

Terumbu Semakau, Dec 15
Photo shared by Juria Toramae on facebook.

Terumbu Semakau, Dec 15
Photo shared by Juria Toramae on facebook.

Pulau Sudong, Dec 09
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his flickr.

Pulau Biola, Dec 09

Pulau Biola, Dec 09

Links References
  • 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.
  • 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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