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Phylum Mollusca > Class Gastropoda > Family Naticidae
China moon snail
Naticarius onca
Family Naticidae
updated Aug 2020
Where seen? This moon snail with a spotted shell and intricately patterned body is sometimes seen on clean sandy shores on some of our Southern shores. Elsewhere it is found offshore on sandy bottoms. It was previously called Natica onca.

Features: 1.5-2cm. Shell smooth thick spherical (not flat) with the spiral tip sticking out a little. Shell pattern beige usually with 5 spirals - white with dark brown bars, sometimes the white is not so obvious. On the underside, a small circular depression. Operculum plain pearly white (no markings), with several fine grooves. Foot transparent with a white margin and a pattern of white bars and red spots, front part of the body white with four wide red or orange bands (which appear as large spots when the animal is fully expanded). Tentacles short, red.

Snail takeaway? Some have been seen 'dragging' a small snail shell behind them attached to the foot. Is it taking the meal away to some other place to eat it in safety?

Spiral tip sticking out a little.
Cyrene Reef, Aug 11

Small circular depression on underside.
Operculum shelly with regular grooves.
Sisters Island, Nov 11

Dragging a small shell behind.
Cyrene Reef, Aug 11

China moon snails on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores


Tanah Merah, Jun 16
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

East Coast Park, Sep 19
Photo shared by Kelvin Yong on facebook.

Kusu Island, Jun 15
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on facebook.


Eating a clam.
Cyrene Reef, Jul 12
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr..

Cyrene Reef, Aug 11
Photo shared by Neo Mei Lin in her blog.

Cyrene Reef, Sep 20
Photo shared by Vincent Choo on facebook.

Filmed on Cyrene Reef Aug 2013

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