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Phylum Mollusca > Class Gastropoda > Family Neritidae
Chameleon nerite snail
Nerita chamaeleon
Family Neritidae
updated Oct 2016
Where seen? This colourful round snail is commonly seen on our rocky shores. It is often seen in large groups and is more active at night or cool days at low tide. The study by Tan & Clements (2008) found this snail on rocks, breakwaters, and seawalls. Sites included: Pulau Ubin, Changi, Tanah Merah, Marina South, Labrador, Sentosa, Pulau Bukom, St. John's Island, Pulau Hantu, Pulau Semakau, Pulau Salu, Tuas.

Features: 2.5-3.5cm. Shell sturdy, rounded, spire sticks out a little. Thick, spiralling ribs, smooth and are regularly spaced. Unlike its reptile namesake the Chameleon, this snail can't change the colour of its shell. But different individual snails on the shore may each have different shell colours and patterns, including some bright colours such as orange.

The flat underside white, some have ridges and a few small rounded bumps. Small ridged 'teeth' (2-4) on the straight edge at the shell opening. Larger shells often with at least one large rounded 'tooth' on one side of the shell opening. Operculum thick, evenly covered in tiny bumps, pinkish with darkish portion. Body pale with fine black bands on the foot and long thin black tentacles.

Sometimes confused with other similar nerites. Here's a comparison of these similar nerite snails and how to tell them apart.

Human uses: It is collected as food by coastal dwellers as well as for its shell for the shell trade.

St John's Island, Aug 08

Tanah Merah, Jun 09

Berlayar Creek, Apr 09

Changi, May 06

Chameleon nerite snails on Singapore shores

Photos of Chameleon nerite snails for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

Links References
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