Home > Invertebrates > Shells > Muricidae

Updated 12/3/2012

Family Muricidae

Murex & Drupes

These animals feed upon other mollusks by drilling with the radula and secreting acid to burn through the shell, leaving a small round hole as evidence.  A few feed upon living corals using acid alone.  The animals create a green fluid that dries purple.  Ancient Romans used to crush hundreds of murex to create this royal dye.  Family Thaididae has been combined into the Muricidae.

Most have spiny shells and attractive colors popular with collectors.  They are found in habitats where their favorite prey occurs, including the intertidal zone, estuaries, mudflats, sand, boulders, and reefs to deep water.  Murex in Hawaii are rare at scuba depths but diverse and plentiful elsewhere while drupes are ubiquitous on shallow reefs and rocky shores.  Shells are usually heavily encrusted with organisms and better ones may be cleaned by soaking in bleach, followed by lots of scraping and scrubbing with a stainless-steel brush.

The Coralliophilids are now considered a subfamily of the Muricidae. 

 

HAWAII

Chicoreus insularum

Hawaiian Burnt Murex, Oahu

HAWAIIAN BURNT MUREX

 

Homalocantha anatomica pele

PELE'S MUREX 

 

Aspella producta

ELONGATE ASPELLA

 

Favartia garrettii

GARRETT'S MUREX

 

Vitularia sandwichensis

HAWAIIAN VITULARIA 

 

Drupa morum morum

MULBERRY DRUPE

 

Drupa ricinus alolabris

WHITE-LIPPED DRUPE

 

Drupa ricinus arachnoides

GOLDRING DRUPE

 

Drupa rubusidaea

PINKMOUTH DRUPE

 

Drupa grossularia

FINGER DRUPE

 

Thais aperta

OPEN DRUPE 

 

Neothais harpa

HARP DRUPE 

 

Morula uva

GRAPE DRUPE

 

 Morula porphyrostoma

PURPLE-MOUTH DRUPE

 

Drupella cornus

ELATED DRUPE

 

Reishia armigera

ARMORED DRUPE or DYE SHELL

 

Morula echinata

ORANGE DRUPE

 

Pascula muricata

ORANGE-MOUTH DRUPE

 

Morula fuscoimbricata

BROWN-SCALED DRUPE

 

Semiricinula turbinoides

BROWN-MOUTH DRUPE

 

Muricodrupa fiscella

BASKET DRUPE

 

Cytharomorula lefevreiana

LEFEVRE'S DRUPE

 

Thais intermedia

INTERMEDIATE DRUPE

 

Morula granulata

GRANULATED DRUPE

 

Maculotriton serriale

SPOTTED TRITON DRUPE

 

Usilla avenacea

CORDED VEXILLA

 

Vexilla vexillum

FLAG or RIBBON VEXILLA

 

Vexilla taeniata

LINED VEXILLA

 

Pinaxia versicolor

COLORFUL DRUPE

 

Nassa tuamotuensis

GARLAND DRUPE

 

Orania pacifica

PACIFIC DRUPE

 


INDO-PACIFIC

Chicoreus brunneus

BURNT or ADUSTA MUREX

 


NORTHEAST PACIFIC

Nucella emarginata

EMARGINATE DOG-WINKLE

 

Nucella lamellosa

FRILLED DOG-WINKLE

 

Maxwellia gemma

GEM MUREX

 

Ceratostoma foliatum

LEAFY HORNMOUTH