Family Muricidae - purpuras, murex and rock shells

  Order
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  Class
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Gastropoda
  No. of Genera in Ref
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  No. of Species in Ref
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  Environment
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Fresh : No | Brackish : No | Marine : Yes
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  Remark
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To about 30 cm. Marine (Ref. 94508). Shell variably shaped, generally with a raised spire and strong sculpture with spiral ridges and often axial varices (3 or more in number on each whorl), frequently bearing spines, tubercles or blade-like processed. Periostracum absent. Aperture variable, ovate to more or less contracted, with a well-marked anterior siphonal canal that may be very long. Outer lip often denticulate inside, sometimes with a tooth-like process on margin. Columella smoothish to weakly ridged. Operculum corneous, thin to thick (reinforced by a heavy and polished internal rib in subfamily Rapaninae), with nucleus near the anterior end or at about midlength of outer margin. Head with a long, retractable snout and elongate, pointed tentacles bearing eyes at or slightly above their outer bases. Foot moderately long and somewhat truncated anteriorly. Fleshy siphon moderately short to very long. The Muricidae constitute a highly diverse group of species, most common in tropical and subtropical shallow waters. Active predators, generally feeding on other molluscs and barnacles. Typically, access to the soft parts of the prey is obtained by boring a hole through the shell by means of a softening secretion and the scraping action of the radula. In many species, the secretion, produced to anaesthetize the prey or defense, turns to purple on exposure to light and air, and it has been used as a natural dye. Sexes separate, fertilization internal. Eggs laid in protective corneous capsules (the size and shape of which vary with species), hatching usually as crawling juveniles or more rarely as planktonic larvae. Muricidae are commonly collected for their edible flesh or for their beautiful shell which is used for shellcraft and is popular among shell collectors. Hand collected in shallow waters, especially by divers, or caught with fish traps and bottom trawls. Some species are frequently in local markets. Because of their carnivorous mode of life, a few species are considered pests, as they may cause substantial destruction in exploited natural beds and areas of culture of commercial bivalves (Ref. 348).
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Ref.
[ e.g. 9948]                       
Glossary
                    [ e.g. cephalopods]


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