Canarium erythrinus
Canarium erythrinus - Philippines

STROMBIDAE, or the Conchs are one of the more familiar of the molluscan groups. Though many larger molluscan species are commonly referred to as conchs, the Strombs or generically, Strombus are the true Conch shells.  The number of species in the family numbers around 60 species, which is small in comparison with other molluscan families. Yet the size difference between the largest and smallest Strombus species is huge.  A few grow to be the largest and heaviest of the marine mollusks such as Eustrombus goliath. The largest recorded shell is around 380 millimeters.  At the other end of the size spectrum is Strombus helli, a species that rarely reaching 25 millimeters in length.  A comprehensive display of Strombs are quite beautiful.  Some of the species can vary considerably in color and make for an eye-catching display. This family also consists of the multi-digit Lambis, the Spider Conchs.

ECOLOGY: The majority of 'Strombus' species are distributed throughout the Indo-Pacific, with a handful of species found in the West Indies and from the Mediterranean down through West Africa. Generally 'Strombs' live mostly in sand and seagrass environments from intertidal to subtidal depths in the tropics. The strong foot and sickle-shape operculum of the animal allow both small and large strombs to dig quickly and deeply into sandy substrates for protection and during periods of shell growth. Adult Eustrombus gigas, the Queen Conch, feed mainly on minute algae, as do most other species of strombs. As larvae, strombs feed on plankton. The larger species of 'Strombs' are themselves harvested as a popular and exploited food source in the shallow waters of the tropics. Due to over-harvesting, Eustrombus gigas is protected in Florida. The aquaculture community has expended great efforts in raising the Queen Conch to avert the extinction of dwindling populations of the species.

TAXONOMY: The Family Strombidae has in recent years undergone a major taxonomic revision. Numerous neatly organized subgenera for the various species within the genus Strombus have been raised to full genera, and new genera have been errected for species that did not clearly fit within the classic arrangement. The most significant taxonomic change within the Family Strombidae is that the spindly Tibia have been reclassified in the Family Rostellariidae based on anatomy and shell morphology. The conchological community has been slow to adopt this new classification. The various 'Strombus' species are arranged here according to the revised nomenclature.


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Phylum: MOLLUSCA (Linné, 1758) Cuvier, 1795

Class: GASTROPODA Cuvier, 1797

Subclass: ORTHOGASTROPODA Ponder & Lindberg, 1996

Superorder: CAENOGASTROPODA Cox, 1960

Order: SORBEOCONCHA Ponder & Lindberg, 1997

Suborder: HYPSOGASTROPODA Ponder & Lindberg, 1997

Infraorder: LITTORINIMORPHA Golikov & Starobogatov, 1975

Superfamily: STROMBOIDEA Rafinesque, C.S., 1815

Family: STROMBIDAE Rafinesque, C.S., 1815

Subfamily: STROMBINAE back to menutop of page
CANARIUM Schumacher, 1817  
Canarium Schumacher, 1817. Ref.:
Canarium erythrinusCanarium erythrinus Dillwyn, 1817 - Philippines, 27-36mm - found in a rainbow of varied colors and patterns. Ref.: . Canarium erythrinusCanarium erythrinus Dillwyn, 1817 - Philippines, 28mm - a striking solid orange color form. Ref.: .
Canarium erythrinusCanarium erythrinus Dillwyn, 1817 - Tulear, Madagascar, 47mm - At 47mm, this specimen is considered well above average in size. Ref.: . Canarium fusiformisCanarium fusiformis Sowerby, 1842 - Mozambique, 29-34mm - intertidal sand dweller found in the western Indian Ocean & Red Sea. Ref.: . Canarium haemastomaCanarium haemastoma Sowerby, 1842 - Marshall Islands, 15-17mm - found scuba diving among sand and rubble. The species has an interesting red operculum with a serrated edge. Ref.: .
Canarium helliCanarium helli Kiener, 1843 - Hawaii, 19mm - an unusual orange color form. This species is the smallest of the genus. Ref.: . Canarium labiatus olydiusCanarium labiatus olydius Duclos, 1844 - Mozambique, 39mm - The geographical range of this subspecies is the Indian Ocean from East Africa to Vietnam. It can be found in relatively shallow water. The illustrated shell represents a very shouldered form. Ref.: . Canarium mutabilis mutabilisCanarium mutabilis mutabilis Swainson, 1821 - Madagascar, 23mm - The color and patterns of this species varies considerably throughout its Indo-Pacific range, as well as within individual populations as illustrated here. Ref.: .
Canarium urceus urceusCanarium urceus urceus Linné, 1758 - Philippines - The shell is found in a array of color forms. In nature the shell is often covered with a thick periostracum and organic growth that masks the color. Lip color can be white or black, though the lighter colored shells tend to have a white lip. Ref.: . Canarium urceus urceusCanarium urceus urceus Linné, 1758 - Philippines - black color form. The species is quite variable with a number of subspecific names applied to geographical forms. Ref.: . Canarium urceus incisusCanarium urceus incisus Wood, 1828 - Vanuatu, 18-20mm - dwarf adult specimens. The subspecies is restricted to a portion of Melanesia. Ref.: .
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CONOMUREX Fischer, 1884  
Conomurex Fischer, 1884. Ref.:
Strombus decorus coniformisConomurex decorus Röding, 1798, form: coniformis Sowerby, 1842 - Madagascar, 32-33mm - one of many forms widely varying forms found throughout the range of the species from the eastern Mediterranean through the Indian Ocean. The form coniformis is found from Mauritius through East Africa. Ref.: .  
DOLOMENA Iredale, 1931  
Dolomena Iredale, 1931. Ref.:
Strombus dilatatus orosminusDolomena dilatatus dilatatus (Swainson, 1821), form: orosminus Duclos, 1844 - Philippines, 39mm - This form is limited to the Southern Pacific. It is differentiated from typical D. dilatatus by the shorter canal at the aperture. Ref.: . Strombus dilatatus swainsoniDolomena dilatatus swainsoni (Reeve, 1850), - Vietnam, 65-67mm - A form limited to the Indian Ocean. Taken in trawl nets of a commercial fishing boat. Ref.: .
Dolomena plicatus pulchellusDolomena plicatus pulchellus (Swainson, 1821) - Philippines, 31mm - Distributed through the Western Pacific, but not found in the Indian Ocean, where the nominate form is found. Ref.: .    
DOXANDER Iredale, 1931  
Doxander Iredale, 1931. Ref.:
EUPROTOMUS Gill, 1870  
Euprotomus Gill, 1870. Ref.:
Euprotomus aratrumEuprotomus aratrum (Röding, 1798) - Australia, 65mm - as with many species of the genus, this is an intertidal dweller. Ref.: . Euprotomus vomer hawaiiensisEuprotomus vomer hawaiiensis Pilsbry, 1917 - Hawaii, 92mm - a fresh dead collected specimen. The subspecies is very rare in this size and condition, and is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. Ref.: .
Strombus vomer hawaiiensisEuprotomus vomer hawaiiensis Pilsbry, 1917 - Hawaii, 65.7mm - also dead taken. The lip is immature, but rarely seen this dark and beautiful. The species is a sand dweller.    
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GIBBERULUS Jousseaume, 1888  
Gibberulus Jousseaume, 1888. Ref.:
Gibberulus gibberulusGibberulus gibberulus (Linné, 1758) - Mahe Island, Seychelles, 57.3mm - The nominate form of Gibberulus gibberulus [synonym: Strombus gibberulus]. Ref.: . Gibberulus gibberulus albusGibberulus gibberulus albus Mörch, 1850 - Saudi Arabia, 43mm - A pale form. [synonym: Strombus gibberulus albus] Ref.: .
Gibberulus gibberulus gibbosusGibberulus gibberulus gibbosus Röding, 1798 - Coral Sea, 40-46mm - These specimens were taken near East Diamond Island, way out in the middle of nowhere! A geographical morph with a dark band below the suture line on the body whorl is more typical at this location (middle specimen), though a wider range of Coral Sea color forms is illustrated here. [synonym: Strombus gibberulus gibbosus] Ref.: . Gibberulus gibberulus gibbosusGibberulus gibberulus gibbosus Röding, 1798 - Coral Sea, 53mm. [synonym: Strombus gibberulus gibbosus] Ref.:  
HARPAGO Mörch, 1852  
Harpago Mörch, 1852, Pterocera Anton, 1839 (non Lamarck, 1799); Subgenus: MILLEPES Mörch, 1852.   Ref.: Millard, V. 1997. Classification of the Mollusca :A classification of worldwide Mollusca. p.96.
Harpago chiragra chiragraHarpago chiragra chiragra Linné, 1758 - Philippines, 121-132mm - Dwarf adult specimens of a species that typically grows to over 200mm in length. The depth of aperture color and pattern on the dorsum varies considerably. Ref.: .  
LABIOSTROMBUS Oostingh, 1925  
Labiostrombus Oostingh, 1925. Ref.:
Labiostrombus epidromusLabiostrombus epidromus (Linné, 1758) - Mellish Reef, Coral Sea, 76mm - A pure white color form. Taken scuba diving in ±35 feet of water on sand, during a night dive. Ref.: .  
Laevistrombus Kira, 1955. Ref.:
Laevistrombus turturellaLaevistrombus turturella (Röding, 1798) - Davao, Philippines, 97.2mm - An extremely large specimen for the species. Closely related to L. canarium. Ref.: .  
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LAMBIS Röding, 1798  
Lambis Röding, 1798, Pterocera Lamarck, 1799, Pteroceras Link, 1807 (err.), Pteroceres Montfort, 1810 (err.), Digitator Fabricius, 1823 (nom. nud.), Pterocerus Brongniart, 1829 (err.), Heptadactylus Mörch, 1852.   Ref.: Millard, V. 1997. Classification of the Mollusca :A classification of worldwide Mollusca. p.96.
Lambis crocata crocataLambis (Lambis) crocata crocata (Link, 1807) - Philippines, 128mm - the nominate form of the species. Digits are proportionately shorter than the localized form L. c. pilsbryi. Ref.: Lambis crocata pilsbryiLambis (Lambis) crocata pilsbryi Abbott, 1961 - Marquesas, 254mm - a huge specimen, 4.2mm smaller than the largest recorded size for the species. The subspecies is limited to French Polynesia. Ref.:
Lambis lambisLambis (Lambis) lambis (Linné, 1758) - Philippines, 129-137mm - The illustrated specimens exhibit extremely dark coloration. Ref.: Lambis robustaLambis (Millepes) robusta (Swainson, 1821) - Tahiti, 131mm - endemic to Polynesia. The dark-tipped digits are characteristic of this uncommon species. Ref.: Lambis scorpioLambis (Millepes) scorpio scorpio Linné, 1758 - Philippines, 145mm - an uncommon lavender color form. Ref.:
LENTIGO Jousseaume, 1886  
Lentigo Jousseaume, 1886  . Ref.:
Lentigo fasciatusLentigo fasciatus (Born, 1778) - Madagascar, 39-40mm - Species is limited to the western Indian Ocean and the Rea Sea; forms from the latter location have been described as subspecific. Knobby and smooth-shouldered forms are found throughout its range. Ref.: Lentigo pipusLentigo pipus (Roding, 1798) - Davao, Philippines, 52mm - Orange color form. Ref.:
LOBATUS Iredale, 1921  
Lobatus Iredale, 1921; Aliger Thiele, 1929; Eustrombus Wenz, 1940.  . Ref.:
Lobatus gallusLobatus gallus (Linné, 1758) - Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. The famed Rooster Tail Conch is found in a variety of colors; this specimen has shades of pink. [synonym: Strombus gallus] Ref.: . Lobatus raninusLobatus raninus (Gmelin, 1791) - Aguadilla, Puerto Rico - 77mm. A gerontic specimen with a blackened lip. Strombs found along the west coast of Puerto Rico seem to be prone to this type of discoloration. [synonym: Strombus raninus] Ref.: .
MIRABILISTROMBUS Kronenberg, 1998  
Mirabilistrombus Kronenberg, 1998  . Ref.:
Mirabilistrombus listeriMirabilistrombus listeri (Gray, 1852) - Andaman Sea, 109mm - Once considered one of the rarest shells, now it is commonly trawled off the coast of Thailand and Burma (Myanmar), a by-product of commercial fishing boats. M. listeri is the only species in the genus. Ref.:  
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SINUSTROMBUS Bandel, 2007  
Sinustrombus Bandel, 2007  . Ref.:
Sinustrombus latissimusSinustrombus latissimus (Linné, 1758) - Philippines, 163mm - Grows to over 200mm. The shell is heavy with a thick calcareous shell. Ref.: . Sinustrombus oldiSinustrombus oldi (Emerson, 1965) - Somalia, 95mm - a dead taken specimen. Live specimens rarely surface in trawling nets. Ref.: .
Sinustrombus taurusSinustrombus oldi (Emerson, 1965) - Somalia, 101.7mm - A beautiful shell with mature, fully developed wing. Ref.: . Sinustrombus taurusSinustrombus taurus (Humphrey, 1786) - Guam, 86mm - often found with a Hipponix, or cap shell attached to the body whorl, which when removed leaves an crater-like indentation in the shell. Ref.: .  
STROMBUS Linné, 1758  
Strombus Linné, 1758; Vaught, 1989: 31; Le Renard, 1996: 41, Strombella Schlüter, 1838, Conomurex Fischer P., 1884 ex Bayle MS, Strombus (Conomurex); Vaught, 1989: 31.   Ref.: Millard, V. 1997. Classification of the Mollusca :A classification of worldwide Mollusca. p.95.
Strombus alatusStrombus alatus Gmelin, 1791 - Florida Keys, 87-100mm - a relatively large and variably colored species. It is common throughout its range. Ref.: . Strombus alatusStrombus alatus Gmelin, 1791 - Florida Keys, 81-88mm - two distinct color forms from the same locale. Ref.: .
Strombus pugilisStrombus pugilis Linné, 1758 - Florida Keys, 89mm - typical specimens have longer spines on the spire than does Strombus alatus. Ref.: .    
TERESTROMBUS Kronenberg & Vermeij, 2002  
Terestrombus Kronenberg & Vermeij, 2002  . Ref.: Kronenberg, G.C. & G.J. Vermeij. Terestrombus and Tridentarius, new genera of Indo-Pacific Strombidae (Gastropoda), with comments on included taxa and on shell characters in Strombidae. Vita Malacologica (1) 49 - 54.
Terestrombus fragilisTerestrombus fragilis (Röding, 1798) - Philippines, 30-40mm - the thin, shiny shell is characteristic of this species. Do not confuse with Terestrombus terebellatus. Ref.: . Terestrombus terebellatusTerestrombus terebellatus terebellatus Sowerby II, 1842 - Philippines, 36-41mm - typical form with taller spire. Ref.: .
Terestrombus terebellatusTerestrombus terebellatus terebellatus (Sowerby, 1842) - Philippines, 34mm - An unusual solid orange color form. Ref.: .    
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Thersistrombus Bandel, 2007  . Ref.:
TRICORNIS Jousseaume, 1886  
Tricornis Jousseaume, 1886  . Ref.:
Tricornis tricornisTricornis tricornis (Lightfoot, 1786) - Somalia, 114.5mm - The coloring varies widely; this specimen has an unusual dark striped pattern on the back. [synonym: Strombus tricornis] Ref.: . Tricornis tricornisTricornis tricornis (Lightfoot, 1786) - Somalia, 128.7mm - A specimen with an extremely dark dorsum coloring. Typically the species exhibits a much lighter color. Ref.: .
TRIDENTARIUS Kronenberg & Vermeij, 2002  
Tridentarius Kronenberg & Vermeij, 2002  . Ref.: Kronenberg, G.C. & G.J. Vermeij. Terestrombus and Tridentarius, new genera of Indo-Pacific Strombidae (Gastropoda), with comments on included taxa and on shell characters in Strombidae. Vita Malacologica (1) 49 - 54.
Tridentarius dentatusTridentarius dentatus (Linné, 1758) - Solomon Islands, 32mm - The type species of the genus. The color-pattern of the body whorl varies. Ref.:  
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