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

Family Strombidae
updated Sep 2020
Where seen? This amazing large snail with spikes on its shell is often seen on our Southern shores near reefs. 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. Shell thick heavy, lip flared with six spines. The flared shell protects the long proboscis as the animal sweeps the bottom for titbits.Upperside usually well encrusted and thus blends with the surroundings. Shell opening pearly and pinkish with orange or yellow tints. Body is olive-brown with white spots. 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. The spines on the shell may improve stability and prevent the snail from toppling over as it hops.

Pulau Jong, Aug 06

Tanah Merah, Dec 09

Eyes sticking out from under the shell.


Tanah Merah, Dec 09

Laying bright orange egg string.
Terumbu Hantu, Apr 12

Orange egg string.
Terumbu Hantu, Apr 12
What does it eat? It grazes on fine red algae.

Look ma, no spines: 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.

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.
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.

Spider conch snails on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores


Tuas, Aug 09
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

Chek Jawa, Jun 21
Photo shared by Vincent Choo on facebook.


Juvenile, Labrador, Feb 09
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.


Labrador, Nov 18
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.


Sentosa Tg Rimau, Nov 20
Photo shared by Richard Kuah on facebook.

A juvenile.
Sentosa Serapong, May 12
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Sentosa Serapong, May 16
Photo shared by Ivan Kwan on facebook.


Terumbu Hantu, Jun 16
Photo shared by Rene Ong on facebook.

Terumbu Bukom, Nov 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

South Cyrene, Oct 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.


Terumbu Pempang Tengah, May 11
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Terumbu Pempang Tengah, May 21
Photo shared by VIncent Choo on facebook.


Terumbu Pempang Laut, Apr 11
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Terumbu Pempang Laut, Apr 11
Photo shared by Russel Low on facebook.


Terumbu Semakau, Dec 15
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

A juvenile.
Raffles Lighthouse, Nov `6
Photo shared by Heng Pei Yan on facebook.


Terumbu Berkas, Jan 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his flickr.

Pulau Senang, Jun 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his flickr.
 


Pulau Salu, Aor 21
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on facebook.
 

A spider conch flipping itself back, Sisters Island, May 2013
Shared by Heng Pei Yan


A spider conch flipping itself back, Tanah Merah, Dec 09
MVI_1787
Video clip shared by Marcus Ng on his flickr.

Terumbu Pempang Laut, Apr 11

Spider Conch flipping itself from Loh Kok Sheng on Vimeo.


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, K. S. & L. M. Chou, 2000. A Guide to the Common Seashells of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 160 pp.
  • Tan, Hugh T.W. L.M. Chou, Darren C. J. Yeo and Peter K.L. Ng. 2007. The Natural Heritage of Singapore. Second edition. Prentice Hall. 271 pp.
  • Abbott, R. Tucker, 1991. Seashells of South East Asia. Graham Brash, Singapore. 145 pp.
  • Davison, 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.
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