07 February 2009

Singapore's Melongena snails on Nature in Singapore

The large Spiral melongena (Pugilina cochlidium) is a die-die-sure-can-see encounter on many of our Northern shores.
Spiral melongena snail laying eggs
This snail lays egg capsules in neat spirals on hard surfaces that often intrigue beach visitors. The living snail is often considered boring and dull because it has a layer of 'hairs' on its shell that traps sediments and camouflages it. The hairs fall off revealing the bright orange shell when the snail dies. The shell is often taken over by hermit crabs.

A recent paper on Nature in Singapore highlights these snails and their relatives, with lots of fascinating details about them and photos and info to help us identify them.

This study of empty shells found on East Coast Park and Changi found three species of the family Melogenidae in Singapore: Hemifusus ternataus, Pugilina cochlidium and Volema myristica. And an unconfirmed report of Hemifusus elongatus. There is also a fascinating discussion of how shells found hint at possible new record of Pugilina wardiana.

Our shores are very much alive! Even seemingly uninteresting beaches on the East Coast and Changi can turn up surprises if we take a closer look.

The Melongenidae (Mollusca: Gastropoda) of Singapore. S.-Y. Chan. Pp. 63-67. [PDF, 178 KB] on Nature in Singapore of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research.

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