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Phylum Mollusca > Class Gastropoda > sea slugs > Order Cephalaspidea
Bubble-shell snails
Family Haminoeidae
updated May 2020

Where seen? These tiny nondescript snails are sometimes seen near mangroves or in silty parts of seagrass areas on some of our shores. Often seen in groups, it is more active at night.

Features: About 1cm. Shell thin and oval, usually a dull colour. The body of the snail can expand to be much larger than the shell. Some release a sticky purple secretion when disturbed. Like other headshield snails it has a shield over the front of the body which is used to plough through the sediments. It has a pair of wing-like extensions of the body (called parapodia) which envelope the shell. It lacks tentacles and an operculum.

Chek Jawa, Apr 04

Releasing purple secretion.
Chek Jawa, Feb 07
What does it eat? It grazes on algae growing on mangrove mud, usually feeding in shady parts of the mangrove forest.

Human uses: Some bubble-shell snails are eaten, preserved in soya sauce and fermented bean paste. The Malay name for a Haminoea species is Siput Bawang or Onion snail.

Chek Jawa, Jan 10

Chek Jawa, Feb 07

Sometimes seen in a row.
Chek Jawa, Apr 08

Bubble-shell snails on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

Pasir Ris Park, Dec 09
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

Pulau Sekudu, Jul 16
Photo shared by Neo Mei Lin on facebook.

Tuas, Dec 14
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on facebook.

Lazarus Island, Nov 19
Photo shared by Jianlin Liu on facebook.

Family Haminoeidae recorded for Singapore
from Tan Siong Kiat and Henrietta P. M. Woo, 2010 Preliminary Checklist of The Molluscs of Singapore.
^from WORMS
+Other additions (Singapore Biodiversity Record, etc)

  Family Haminoeidae
  Atys cylindrica=Aliculastrum cylindricum
Atys naucum
(White nut sheath bubble shell)
Atys tortuosa

Haminoea sp. (Mangrove bubble-shell snail)
Haminoea glaba
Haminoea tenera

+Limulatys okamotoi



  • Toh Chay Hoon & Tan Siong Kiat. 10 July 2015. White nut sheath bubble shell Atys naucum at Pulau Hantu. Singapore Biodiversity Records 2015: 91
  • Toh Chay Hoon & Tan Siong Kiat. 10 July 2015. First record of bubble snail Limulatys okamotoi in Singapore. Singapore Biodiversity Records 2015: 94
  • 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.
  • Coleman, Neville. 2008. Nudibranchs Encyclopedia - Catalogue of Asia/Indo Pacific sea slugs. Neville Coleman's World of Water, Australia. 415pp.
  • Debelius, Helmut, 2001. Nudibranchs and Sea Snails: Indo-Pacific Field Guide IKAN-Unterwasserachiv, Frankfurt. 321 pp.
  • Wells, Fred E. and Clayton W. Bryce. 2000. Slugs of Western Australia: A guide to the species from the Indian to West Pacific Oceans. Western Australian Museum. 184 pp.
  • Gosliner, Terrence M., David W. Behrens and Gary C. Williams. 1996. Coral Reef Animals of the Indo-Pacific: Animal life from Africa to Hawaii exclusive of the vertebrates Sea Challengers. 314pp.
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