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Phylum Mollusca > Class Gastropoda > Family Strombidae
Black-lipped conch
Canarium urceus

Family Strombidae
updated Sep 2020

if you learn only 3 things about them ...
A lively snail that hops instead of creeping along the surface.
Many of its features are adaptations to this hopping lifestyle: flared shell, large eyes.
It is listed among the threatened animals of Singapore.

Where seen? This narrow conch with black lips is sometimes seen in seagrass areas on our shores. Elsewhere, they are found on sand or sandy mud bottoms, sometimes associated with sparse algae. Often occurring in colonies. Intertidal and sublittoral zones to a depth of about 40 m. It was previously known as Strombus urceus.

Features: 3-5cm long. Shell heavy thick, long and narrow, lip slightly flared quite wavy. The flared shell protects the long proboscis as the animal sweeps the bottom for titbits. Upperside smooth often covered in silt and sometimes with encrusting plants and animals. Shell opening is shiny black, although in some, this may appear as just a black border around the edges of the shell's underside. Body greenish sometimes with white or with beige 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.

Kusu Island, Jun 05

Human uses: The snails are actively collected in the Philippines and often sold in the markets of northern Luzon. Shell frequently used to make decorative items.

Status and threats: The Black-lipped conch is listed as 'Vulnerable' on the Red List of threatened animals of Singapore. It used to be abundant in the 1970s.

Black-lipped conch snails on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

Tanah Merah, May 09
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

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

Pulau Tekukor, Jan 10
Photo shared by James Koh on his flickr.

Lazarus Island, Feb 11
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog

Cyrene Reef, Feb 17
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on flickr.

Terumbu Semakau, May 17
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on facebook.

Beting Bemban Besar, May 10
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

Beting Bemban Besar, May 11
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Beting Bemban Besar, Mar 20
Photo shared by Kelvin Yong on facebook.

Pulau Berkas, Feb 22
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.



  • 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.
  • 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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