Where seen? This amazing conch is sometimes seen on Changi
in a lush seagrass meadow. Elsewhere it is considered moderately common
in shallow water near reefs, grassy sand flats and coral rubble to
10m deep. It was previously known as Strombus aratrum.
Features: 7-9cm long. Shell thick heavy large, lip flared with one prong. Upperside usually covered with encrusting plants and animals, hiding a pattern of dark brown bars. The inner portion of shell opening
is pearly and orange and there are brown stains on the underside. The flared
shell protects the long proboscis as the animal sweeps the bottom
for titbits. Large eyes on
eyestalks, each eyestalk has a tentacle, the purpose of which is not known. Like other conch snails, it hops using the knife-like operculum at the tip of a long muscular foot.
Changi, Apr 09
|According to Abbott, Strombus aratrum is a subspecies of S.
aurisdianae. 'Auris' means 'ear' and indeed, the beautiful underside
of S. aurisdianae may be what the ear of the goddess Diana
looks like, hence the common name Diana
conch or Diana Ear conch. S. aratrum is more elongate and has
a brown-stained shell opening. Thus its common name is Dark Diana
Human uses: S. aurisdianae is collected for food where it is abundant. The shell is used in shellcraft.
It is sold in local markets of the central and northern Philippines.
Status and threats: S. aratrum (spelt S. atratum in the Red Data Book) is listed as 'Critically
Endangered' in the Red List of threatened animals of Singapore. The
Red Data Book states it as being found near our coral reefs and was
present in small numbers until the 1960s. It was rarely seen since
then and possibly "now wiped out".
Diana conch snails on Singapore shores
|Other sightings on Singapore shores
Changi, May 09
Photo shared by James Koh on flickr.
- 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.
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.
- Abbott, R.
Tucker, 1991. Seashells
of South East Asia.
Graham Brash, Singapore. 145 pp.