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Phylum Mollusca > Class Gastropoda > Family Neritidae
Ox-tongue nerite snail
Nerita albicilla
Family Neritidae
updated Sep 2020
Where seen? This nerite snail with distinctive 'pimples' on the underside is often seen on many of our rocky shores and granite seawalls. It is usually found nearer the low water mark. The study by Tan & Clements (2008) found this snail on rocks, breakwaters, and seawalls in lower to middle intertidal zone. Sites included: Pulau Ubin, Changi, Tanah Merah, Marina South, Labrador, Sentosa, St. John's Island, Pulau Hantu, Pulau Salu, Raffles Lighthouse and Tuas.

Features: 2-3cm. Shell thick heavy, a flattened oval narrower at end and wider at front, spire does not stick out at all. The flat underside is much longer that other nerites, smooth white or yellowish and pimpled with large rounded bumps. These bumps resembles the tongue of an ox (Albicilla means 'ox-tongue'). Small ridged 'teeth' on the straight edge at the shell opening. Larger shells with two rounded 'teeth' on both sides of the shell opening. Operculum thick, evenly covered in tiny bumps, pinkish or yellowish sometimes with darkish portion. Body pale with fine black bands on the foot and long thin black tentacles.

Sisters Island, Jan 06

Sisters Islands, Jan 06

Pulau Semakau, Feb 09
Many patterns: The shell may be lightly grooved, sometimes glossy. The shell pattern can vary widely from bold spirals to mottled or plain. Some can be white and chalky from exposure and carry barnacles.

Sentosa, Apr 07

Berlayar Creek, Apr 09

Pulau Jong, Nov 08
Human uses: It is collected as food by coastal dwellers as well as for its shell for the shell trade.

Ox-tongue nerite snails on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

Pulau Biola, Dec 09
Photo shared by Ivan Kwan on flickr.

East Coast (PCN), May 21
Photo shared by Vincent Choo on facebcok.

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, S.K. & Clements, R. (2008) Taxonomy and distribution of the Neritidae (Mollusca: Gastropoda) on Singapore. Zoological Studies 47(4): 481-494.
  • 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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