Local Snails

RiaanP

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The Good. The Bad. The Ugly.

At the reef expo 2013 I did a talk on local snails. It is covering just the most likely snails you could encounter while rock hopping or pool splashing.

The images are all courtesy of Sea Shells
But its difficult to navigate through thousands of snails found worldwide. Unless you already got a name.

Anyway, I will try and give short descriptions where ever I can.

first a disclaimer.
I am not an marine biologist. Neither a marine expert. Just lucky to have an Aunt in the snail collection hobby that guided me a lot. Thanks.
 

RiaanP

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Strombidae
Herbivore
Algae
Detritus

Very nice snails to get. Be careful, their operculum can cut you.

Strombus aurisdianae
Euprotomus_aurisdianae_2710_zps7pvzgm9v.JPG


Strombus decorus
Strombus_decorus_decorus_2_zpsxc7zxoc1.JPG



Strombus gibberulus
Gibberulus_gibberulus_gibberulus_3525_zpsztnt0ape.JPG
 
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RiaanP

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Trochidae (turbo's)
Herbivore
Encrusting algae
Eel grass
Detritus

Diloma sinensis
Diloma_sinensis_1_zpsitexqoey.JPG
Oxystele_sinensis_zpszqx9lu1d.JPG


Monodonta australis
Slight green tint to the shell.
I've found them not to last long in my system. They die easily. Now I just skip them
Monodonta_australis_1_zpsojzo98wo.JPG


Turbo coronatus
Nice to have, But can grow up to a golf ball size.
Turbo_coronatus_1_zps1kzv4jtd.JPG
Turbo_coronatus_zps4vyx4pyc.JPG
 
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RiaanP

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Stomatella rosacea
Normally they are hitchhikers into your system. Can multiply easily. Mostly active at night.
Stomatella_zps1v6evepa.JPG


Trochus nigropunctatus
Topshels
Very nice snail to find.
They struggle to upright themselves when they fell off a rock.
So if you see them upside down help them quickly before a hermit take them out.

Trochus_nigropunctatus_zpskggogzil.JPG


Trochus cariniferus
Another topshell. Nice color.
Trochus_cariniferus_1_zpsygb8ejfv.JPG
 
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RiaanP

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Just explain the quoted a little better for us please, is this what they all eat or are there specifics based on the snails you have listed?
The family. OK, some members will prefer certain food over other algae.

Will get to the baddies later.
 

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More Trochidae

Diloma tabularis

Small little snails. Very good algae eater.
They fell victim to hermits easily - pity.
Oxystele_tabularis_zpsivgecrxn.JPG


Clanculus puniceus
BEAUTIFUL
Never found a live one, always just a shell or a hermit in it.
Clanculus_puniceus_1_zpsunyduzdu.JPG
 
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RiaanP

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Cypraeidae Cowries.
Omnivore
Algae
Sponges
Coral Polyps
Tunicates
Other living organisms

These I'm listing are vegetarian. And only the real small species as others like the tiger should stay in the ocean.
Pity these snails are mostly active at night.

Cypraea annulus
Yellow Ring Cowrie.
They are small, about 20mm.
Cypraea_annulus_2_zps8wcsf1bo.JPG


Cypraea felina
Same size about as the Yellow Ring
Cypraea_felina_1_zpskybsatkf.JPG


Cypraea Caputserpentis
Much bigger, about 40mm. Biggest listed here.
Cypraea_caputserpentis_3_zpsewwi9ik2.JPG


Cypraea vitellus
Cypraea_vitellus_dama_2_zpsnuidnov0.JPG
 
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RiaanP

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Neritidae
Night grazers
Herbivore
Algae

They will lay small white eggs against the glass.
Active at night.
They also struggles to get upright when they drop off, Please help them up before a hermit attacks them
Small hermits like the Yellow Tip likes their shells.

Nerita albicilla
Various colors.
Looks like Andy Capp cap.
Nerita_albicilla_4_zps7akeiolo.JPG

Nerita_albicilla_3_zpsmbdghxus.JPG

Nerita_albicilla_zpshcgswbxw.JPG



Nerita Textilis
Leave these. They are bigger.
Black foot tissue.
But they just die.
Nerita_textilis_1_zpszmdiifvk.JPG
 
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RiaanP

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Cerithiidae
Herbivore
Algae
Detritus


Cerithium citrinum
Easily confused with Muricidae snails, who are predators.
But the outer rim of the opening is a lot thinner, almost fragile.
Cerithium_citrinum_5_zpstrujyxcg.JPG


Rhinoclavis sinensis
Rhinoclavis_sinensis_3_zpsaf2ejadp.JPG
 
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The only likely Strombus you're gonna find locally is S. mutabilis. Much smaller species and a super algae eater. They even clean hair algae off your seagrass and other macroalgae without damaging them. I got 4 in the Kei last week:



The other larger species only start to become common in Moz. Pretty rare to find live ones this far south (but certainly possible).

PS. the Clanculus spp and Calliostoma spp. topshells tend to be sponge/coral eaters. Clanculus atricatena is pretty common here live and they're sponge eater IME.



Dactylastele burnupi is also pretty common under rocks here. Used to be in Trochidae but now they're in their own family, Calliostomatidae. Most are coral munchers, and this species wrecks zoanthids:

 

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Just some notes.

Operculum.
An operculum is a small covering or lid, and is widely used in descriptions of animals and plants
That is the hard flap like thing that some snails have to close up the shell opening as they retract.
The Strombidae snails got a dagger like operculum. That they use to upright themselves and to defend.

Trochidae the family are mostly vegetarian. Rather big family and diverse in shape and size.


Snails I list are mostly from Natal and up more north. Found these snails from Margate Just south of Durban all the way up to St Lucia. Colder water snails as found around the Cape will not be listed.

When collecting snails, always ensure that the shell you pick up is a snail or a hermit. Or just empty. When I collect I put the hermits and snails in separate buckets. The put the shells in a straight line and check later who moved. In the hermit bucket, any shell up against the side is a snail. I always collect some empty shells for the hermits. Here I try and get the nicer looking empty shells, so when they upgrade their shell, they got a nice colorful shell.
 
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Another cool one that is fairly common here under rocks, Scutus unguis. Basically a keyhole limpet without the keyhole:



Some people say they sometimes nibble coral if they run out of algae, but I've never had any problems. One 3cm snail can clean a 10cm rock of hair algae in about 2 days. Just be careful removing them from the rocks...they grip extremely tightly and if you break their shell they probably won't survive.
 
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RiaanP

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THESE ARE BADDIES!!!

Ranellidae
Carnivorous
Molluscs
Tube Worms
Echinoderms
Ascidians


Gyrineum pusillum
Gyrineum_pusillum_zps84l64ogn.JPG


Cymatium exaratum durbanese
Turritriton_tabulatus_exaratus_2_zpsqpiyr9o0.JPG


Cymatium grandimaculatum
Cymatium_grandimaculatum_2_zpsti2lya6w.JPG
 
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MORE BADDIES!!!

Muricidae
Carnivorous
Molluscs


Mancinella echinulata

Mancinella_echinulata_4_zps7zwzybqu.JPG


Nassa francolina
Nassa_francolina_2_zpsftme9wny.JPG


Morula granulata
Small hermits likes these shells. So make sure if you are collecting hermits, that it is a hermit
Morula_granulata_zpsqkerkuth.JPG


Purpura panama
Purpura_rudolphi_2838_zpsygfsjclq.JPG


Thais capensis
Thais_capensis_1_zpsz7qrcizv.JPG


Maculotriton serriale
Maculotriton_serriale_1_zpsc7uqhscq.JPG
 
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MORE BADDIES!!!


Conidae
Carnivorous
Reef worms
Mollusks
Small Fish

Just some of the smaller members. Some species in this family can grow rather large. These snails harpoon their victims. And can be venomous.
Conus ebraeus
Conus_ebraeus_3031a_zpspbewfrig.JPG


Conus namocanus
Conus_namocanus_2_zpsu8xpv92n.JPG


Conus biliosus
Conus_biliosus_zpshqxdsmk5.JPG
 
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BADDIES


Fasiolariidae
Carnivorous
Mollusks Tube Worms
Echinoderms
Ascidians


Peristernia forskalii
Can differ in color.
Peristernia_forskali_1_zpsnnlharoc.JPG


Peristernia_forskalii_2_zps4o30qg4r.JPG


Peristernia leucothea
Peristernia_leucothea_2_zpsflyedw4y.JPG
 
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RiaanP

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BADDIES

Bursidae
Carnivorous
Worms
Mollusks

Bursa granularis
Rather big, with a thick ridge down each side.
Bursa_granularis_cubaniana_1_zpsvmlwnmth.JPG
 
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