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Phylum Mollusca > Class Gastropoda > Family Strombidae
Spider conch
Lambis lambis

Family Strombidae
updated Sep 12
Where seen? This amazing large snail with spikes on its shell is sometimes seen on our Southern shores near coral rubble areas. Although large, it is often overlooked because the upperside of the shell is very well camouflaged. Elsewhere, it is considered common on reef flats and on coral-rubble bottoms or in mangrove areas, usually associated with fine red algae on which it feeds. Often occurring in colonies. In shallow water, from low tide levels to a depth of about 5 m.

Features: 10-20cm long. Thick heavy shell with six spines on the flared lip. The upperside of the shell is usually encrusted and thus blends with the surroundings. The shell opening is pearly and pinkish with orange or yellow tints.

Part of the body is olive-brown with white spots. It has large eyes on long stalks and a thick siphon. Like other conch snails, it has a curved, knife-shaped operculum attached to a long strong foot. This is used by the animal to 'hop' along the surface. The spines on the shell improves stability and prevents the snail from toppling over as it hops.

The long spines on its shell are found only on adults and gives it its common name. The shell of young snails look like large volutes. Male and female snails look very different. The shell of the males usually smaller and with shorter spines on the outer lip. Mama snails lay bright orange egg strings.

What does it eat? It grazes on fine red algae.

Human uses: Where common, it is often collected for food by coastal populations, and the shell used in shellcraft. Appears in markets in the northern Philippines and in Fiji Islands.

Status and threats: The spider conch is listed as 'Vulnerable' on the Red List of threatened animals of Singapore. According to the Singapore Red Data Book: it is "rare and no longer as abundant as in the 1960's". Like other creatures of the intertidal zone, they are affected by human activities such as reclamation and pollution. Trampling by careless visitors and over-collection for their shells can also have an impact on local populations.

Pulau Jong, Aug 06

Tanah Merah, Dec 09
Eyes sticking out from under the shell.

A young snail that hasn't developed
spines on its shell yet.
Pulau Jong, Jul 07

A young snail that hasn't developed
spines on its shell yet.
Tanah Merah, Feb 12

A young snail?
Pulau Semakau, Nov 09
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

Tanah Merah, Dec 09

Laying bright orange egg string.
Terumbu Hantu, Apr 12

Orange egg string.
Terumbu Hantu, Apr 12

Spider conch snails on Singapore shores

Photos for free download from wildsingapore flickr

video clips and more photos of spider conch snails on Singapore shores


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