Photo of the day (89): Babylonia areolata

Babylonia areolata is a species of a sea snail from the Indo-Pacific. It is a predatory species.

It can be found on sandy bottom from Taiwan to Ceylon. It lived also in Japan in Late Miocene (about 11 to 5 million years ago) and in Pliocene (about 5 to 2.5 million years ago). My photos of Babylonia areolata are from southern Vietnam.Babylonia areolataThere is also visible on the previous photo, that the siphon is not a tube, but it is a part of the mantle rolled into a shape of a tube.

The shape of its shell is buccinoid. So it was classified in the family Buccinidae with the superfamily Buccinoidea in the 20th century. The family Babyloniidae was established in 1971 but it has became more widely used since 2005. The family Babyloniidae has been classified within the superfamily Muricoidea since 2005. The family Babyloniidae is unassigned to a certain superfamily as of 2019. Although the higher taxonomy is unclear and (nearly) always changing, its generic placement is quite stable and this species belong to the genus Babylonia since 1838.

A view of a live Babylonia areolata showing the shape of the shell:Babylonia areolataBabylonia areolata is commercially important species. It is also produced in aquaculture. It is an edible snail and it is a part of cuisine of Vietnam, Thailand and China and probably in other countries as well. It is sold in markets in Vietnam sometimes.

They are being stored in markets in bowls with sea water like this. Number of live Babylonia areolata in a bowl of water:Babylonia areolataThe color of the shell is yellow and it has three rows of brown spots. It is very easy distinguishing feature, because Babylonia areolata is the only Babylonia of 14 Babylonia species that has three rows of spots. The color of a live animal is yellow.

A brown operculum is attached at dorsal part of the foot in a live snail. The shape of the operculum is drop-like. There are are clear growth lines on the operculum.

Or you can see them in markets on plates without water. Live Babylonia areolata on sold in a street in Gò Vấp District, Ho Chi Minh City. Babylonia areolata is on the bottom right. There are also other water snails; freshwater Pila ampullacea, and other sea snails, bivalves and crustaceans:Babylonia areolataThe growth lines on the operculum are much more clear on the photo:Babylonia areolataMenu with ten different dishes made of Babylonia areolata in a street restaurant in Gò Vấp District, Ho Chi Minh City. You can get a dish for about 70.000 Vietnamese đồng there:Babylonia areolata menuVietnamese food with Babylonia areolata, lemon grass and red pepper in a soup from Cần Giờ District, Ho Chi Minh City:Babylonia areolataReferences

Altena C. O. van Regteren & Gittenberger E. (1981). “The genus Babylonia (Prosobranchia: Buccinidae)“. Zoologische Verhandelingen 188: 1-57, + 11 plates.

MolluscaBase (2019). MolluscaBase. Babylonia areolata (Link, 1807). Accessed through: World Register of Marine Species at: on 2019-07-21


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