2022-2023 exhibition of shells from Mediterranean

There is a small exhibition of shells from the Mediterranean Sea called “Shells of Mediterranean” (in Czech: Mušle Středomoří) in Regional Museum in Olomouc. The exhibition lasts from August 26, 2022 to March 5, 2023. Authors of the exhibition are Dimitris Iakovidis and Niki Iakovidou.

Shells of Mediterranean.

I like few things on this exhibition. There are number of specimen of each species, so a visitor can see a variability of shells of the certain species. This is important thing, because there are usually only very few images of each species in books. Also newbie biologists have usually only few shells in a collection. For these two reason there is the whole varibality of shells within the species very usefull.

Showing variability of each species in number of shells.

Another thing I like are short but informative texts with characteristics of each species.

There are also few shells of each species, that visitors can touch. I like it.

Texts with general characteristics of each species. This example includes texts in the Czech language about Tonna galea and Galeodea echinophora.
Visitors can touch few shells of each species.
Shells of Mediterrnean.

I counted the following species of molluscs in the exhibition. There are 49 species of bivalves and 28 species of gastropods. Gastropods:

1. Patella caerulea Linnaeus, 1758

2. Gibbula albida (Gmelin, 1791) = Steromphala albida (Gmelin, 1791)

3. Bolma rugosa (Linnaeus, 1767) – there are surprisingly only opercula of Bolma rugosa on display. However these earrings is a great bonus.

Earrings made of opercula of Bolma rugosa.

4. Rissoa splendida Eichwald, 1830

5. Tricolia pullus (Linnaeus, 1758)

6. Smaragdia viridis (Linnaeus, 1758)

7. Pirenella conica (Blainville, 1829)

8. Cerithium vulgatum Bruguière, 1792

9. Turritellinella tricarinata (Brocchi, 1814)

10. Epitonium clathrus (Linnaeus, 1758)

11. Vermetus triquetrus Bivona-Bernardi, 1832

12. Tonna galea (Linnaeus, 1758)

13. Galeodea echinophora (Linnaeus, 1758)

14. Euspira guilleminii (Payraudeau, 1826)

15. Neverita josephinia Risso, 1826

16. Aporrhais pespelecani (Linnaeus, 1758)

17. Euthria cornea (Linnaeus, 1758)

18. Aptyxis syracusana (Linnaeus, 1758)

19. Conus ventricosus Gmelin, 1791

20. Bulla striata Bruguière, 1792

21. Columbella rustica (Linnaeus, 1758)

22. Tritia nitida (Jeffreys, 1867)

23. Tritia reticulata (Linnaeus, 1758)

24. Tritia neritea (Linnaeus, 1758)

25. Ocenebra erinaceus (Linnaeus, 1758)

26. Stramonita haemastoma (Linnaeus, 1767)

27. Hexaplex trunculus (Linnaeus, 1758)

28. Bolinus brandaris (Linnaeus, 1758)

Bolinus brandaris produces Tyrian purple dye. Hexaplex trunclus produces purple-blue dye or indigo dye. Stramonita haemastoma produces another shade of Tyrian purple dye.

I considered these threee shells with colors higly informative until I realized, that colors does not correspond with the display in the Museum of Natural History in Vienna. The dye from Hexaplex trunculus is always more blue in comparison with other ones. Moreover the dye from Bolinus brandaris and from Stramonita haemastoma goes through the blue shade during the exposure to sunlight. However I was unable to verify in an instant what shade of Tyrian purple is correct or even if it is dye from Bolinus brandaris and from Stramonita haemastoma distinguishable from each other.

The actual colors in this Olomouc exhibition are exactly according to the research by Rena Veropoulidou and her 2011 thesis about the same theme. So I consider them correct. (Colors in the Vienna may be switched in this sense.)

I wrote this list of species also for myself, because this list can be considred as a list of most common species from Mediterranean for general public. There are always to learn new things about each of these gastropods, although they are quite well known.

Shells of Mediterranean.

Do not miss the exhibition. Is is open until March 5, 2023.


(in Czech) 2022-08: Mušle Středomoří. –⁠ Vlastivědné muzeum Olomouc.

(in Greek) Βεροπουλίδου Ρ. [Veropoulidou R.], 2012: Η πορφύρα των Φοινίκων, μια «βασιλική» βαφή [The Tyrian Purple, a “royal” dye]. 99–105. page 102, fig. 1. In: Adam-Veleni P. & Stefani E., 2012: Greeks and Phoenicians at the Mediterranean Crossroads. Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki.


Photo of the day (93): Babylonia areolata

This is the photo of sea snails Babylonia areolata served as food in Vietnamese cuisine in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The Vietnamese name of this species is ốc hương. These are grilled Babylonia areolata, that means ốc hương nướng in Vietnamese language.

This image accomplish one of previous posts about this species.

A dish of Babylonia areaolata from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo by Jan Vrba, CC-BY-4.0.

I thank my friend Jan Vrba who kindly provided the photo.


Thach N. N., 2005: Shells of Vietnam. Conchbooks, 338 pp + 91 plates. ISBN 3-925919-71-6. page 135.

Monachoides live snails wanted

My friend and colleague, malacologist Tereza Kosová from Charles University in Prague is studying species of the genus Monachoides. I would like to ask you to send her a few living specimens from your field trips across Europe.

The widespread species in forests is Monachoides incarnatus. Another species from the genus Monachoides is Monachoides vicinus, that lives in forests in Carpathian Mountains. Few other species of Monachoides have been described from Balkan Peninsula.

Monachoides map

Distribution map of Monachoides. Drawing by Tereza Kosová, CC-BY-4.0.

She is looking for living animals from various places in Europe. If you would like to help her with her research, you can send her a few living specimens from your area or a place where you are going for a walk.

Monachoides incarnatus

Monachoides incarnatus from Slovakia. Photo by Jozef Grego, public domain. Source: AnimalBase.

The best way how to send snails is to store them in a nylon stocking in which snails can breathe but can not escape. The label with GPS should be hidden in a small plastic bag to prevent snail from eating it. Put the stocking in a paper box so that the snail does not break free during the transport.

step 1)
Collect a few Monachoides snails. Write down the date of collection, locality, name of collector on paper.

Monachoides incarnatus collectingWhat you need: paper with locality name, small plastic bag, Monachoides snails, nylon stocking bag, plastic box, bubble wrap envelope. That’s all.

step 2)
Put the paper into the small plastic bag (so snails will not eat the tasty paper). Put snails and the locality name into the nylon stocking bag. Put the nylon bag with snails to any box. Wrap it into the bubble wrap envelope. Write down the address and send it to Tereza. Thank you!Monachoide incarnatus sendingYou do not need to send the package as a parcel. You can spare money if you send it as an ordinary letter with maximum size 35.3 × 25 × 2 cm. Do not worry about snails. If you send freshly collected snails, they should withstand the transport easily. But if you were going to your field trip for a few days, then you can keep live snails in a wet soil or in a wet terrarium substrate during the field trip. Then you can send it including the substrate in the same way as you would send your terrarium snail pets.

You can find contact information at the website alongside with her bibliography here: http://mollusca.sav.sk/malacology/Kosova.htm

The address is (in English):
Tereza Kosova
Department of Zoology
Charles University, Faculty of Science
Vinicna 7
CZ-128 44 Prague 2
Czech Republic

The address in Czech:
Tereza Kosová
Katedra zoologie
Viničná 7
128 44 Praha 2

Monachoides incarnatus samples

Tubes with samples of Monachoides incarnatus in ethanol prepared for molecular phylogenetic analysis. Photo by Tereza Kosová, CC-BY-4.0.


no references


Images of Monachoides incarnatus at mollusca.sav.sk website

Characteristics of Monachoides incarnatus at AnimalBase website with images

Images of Monachoides vicinus at mollusca.sav.sk website

Characteristics of Monachoides vicinus at AnimalBase website with images

Photo of the day (92): eggs of Cassis madagascariensis

These are egg cases of Cassis madagascariensis.

I thank my friend and underwater photographer, Tracey Winholt who has kindly shared the following photos.

These photos are valuable, because I found no other photos of eggs of this species on the internet except of black-and-white photos by D’Asaro. They are also valuable because this large species is rare in some areas. For example, it is rare in Florida.

Cassis madagascariensis eggs

Cassis madagascariensis eggs. Photo by Tracey Winholt, CC-BY-4.0.

Egg cases of Cassis madagascariensis were described for the first time in 1969 as the first described egg cases of the genus Cassis.

The locality is Cozumel, Mexico. It is an island of the Caribbean Sea, nearby the Yucatán Peninsula. The habitat is sea grass beds in the depth 7-8 meters. These egg cases are not uncommon in the grassy areas in Cozumel.

The another egg case was also laid on an algae. It is some fan shaped green alga of the genus Avrainvillea, maybe Avrainvillea erecta. Eggs were laid to the alga to both of its sides:

Cassis madagascariensis eggs

Cassis madagascariensis eggs. Photo by Tracey Winholt, CC-BY-4.0.

Each egg capsule is quadrangular as viewed from the top. Egg capsules are irregularly arranged on the substrate. Egg capsules with developing eggs are light brown in color.

Cassis madagascariensis eggs

Cassis madagascariensis eggs. Photo by Tracey Winholt, CC-BY-4.0.

D’Asaro counted 2400 embryos in one egg case on average. There are developing embryos on the photo:

Cassis madagascariensis eggs

Cassis madagascariensis embryos. Photo by Tracey Winholt, CC-BY-4.0.

Maybe some of those embryos will grow up into an adult snail with a shell length up to 30 cm or 40 cm:

Cassis madagascariensis shells

Shells of adult Cassis madagascariensis. Photo by Michal Jurásek, CC-BY-4.0.


D’Asaro C. N. 1969: The spawn of the emperor helmet shell, Cassis madagascariensis Lamarck, from South Florida. Bulletin of marine Science, 19(4): 905-910.

Sept J. D. 2016: Atlantic Seashore Field Guide: Florida to Canada. Rowman & Littlefield. page: not numbered. (Note that there should be “cm” instead of “mm” in the size section.)

Photo of the day (91): spoons made of Turbo marmoratus

I have taken these photos of spoons and cutlery in a shop in Hội An, Central Vietnam.spoons made of shellsspoons made of shellsThese spoons are made of some gastropod shells, most probably of green turban Turbo marmoratus. With the shell length up to 20 cm (or up to 25 cm) it is the largest species of the family Turbinidae. It’s distribution is Indo-Pacific. As of 1974 it has been listed as a “common” species. The shell is commercially important as a source of nacre (mother of pearl) and it is the most important commercial species of Turbinidae in the tropical Indo-West Pacific. It is intensively harvested and exploited in some countries. Many of its populations has been reduced.


Dance S. P. (ed.) (1974). The Encyclopedia of Shells. Blanford Press, ISBN 0713706988, pages 52-53.

Dwiono S.A.P., Pradina & Makatipu P.C. (2001) Dwiono, S., & Pradina, M. P. (2001). Spawning and seed production of the green snail (Turbo marmoratus L.) in Indonesia. SPC Trochus Information Bulletin# 7. Poka–Ambon, Indonesia, 7.

Turbo marmoratus Linnaeus, 1758. https://www.sealifebase.ca/summary/Turbo-marmoratus.html accessed August 15, 2019.

Photo of the day (90): Lymnaea stagnalis

Lymnaea stagnalis is a species of a common holarctic freshwater snail from the family Lymnaeidae. It usually inhabits standing waters and also temporary pools. What will happen to Lymnaea stagnalis snails when is the temporary pool out of water?

This is a temporary pool in the southern part of the Litovelské Pomoraví Protected Landscape Area, Czech Republic at June 29, 2018.Lymnaea stagnalisFortunately Lymnaea stagnalis can survive outside water for some time. Most of them were still alive.

Lymnaea stagnalisThere are also some Stagnicola turricula snails (those smaller ones) among Lymnaea stagnalis. It is also species from the family Lymnaeidae.Lymnaea stagnalis and Stagnicola turriculaReferences


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: http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=475109 on 2019-07-21

Photo of the day (88): snails at Sebaldus shrine

The shrine of St. Sebaldus is supported by sculptures of snails. That is a nice work from the Renaissance.

St. Sebaldus is a patron saint of Nuremberg (in Bavaria, Germany). The bronze shrine of St. Sebaldus is in the middle of the St. Sebaldus Church in Nuremberg. It was made by German sculptor Peter Vischer the Elder (1455-1529) and his sons in 1508-1519.

There are 12 different snail sculptures holding the shrine. They all represent stylommatophoran land snails with right-handed shell. You can see four of them here:

Snail sculpture at Sebaldus shrine

Snail sculpture at Sebaldus shrine. Photo by Rodrigo B. Salvador, CC-BY-4.0.

Snail sculpture at Sebaldus shrine

Snail sculpture at Sebaldus shrine. Photo by Rodrigo B. Salvador, CC-BY-4.0.

Snail sculpture at Sebaldus shrine

Snail sculpture at Sebaldus shrine. Photo by Rodrigo B. Salvador, CC-BY-4.0.

Snail sculpture at Sebaldus shrine

Snail sculpture at Sebaldus shrine. Photo by Rodrigo B. Salvador, CC-BY-4.0.

I cloud not found much information about these snail sculptures so it remains a mystery, at least for me. But I think that they were made for aesthetic purposes only, because snail shells are beautiful and shells would seem incomplete without live gastropods. I also try to present live gastropods on this blog instead of shells only.

You can see similar blog post about the same shrine at “(52) Nürnberg St. Sebald“, as well as other old sculptures of snails. And the whole blog “Hunting for snails ~ snails in art” is worth to read.

A short note about snails in the church is on “Reliquarian” blog post at “Winter of Discontent: Saint Sebaldus, Protector Against Cold Weather, Takes a Sabbatical“.


(in German) Sebaldusgrab. St. Sebald, Nürnberg. accessed 2019, February 12.

Photo of the day (87): Megalobulimus

This is the snail shell container that is used by shamans of Yanomami South American Indians for keeping hallucinogenic yopo. The container was made from the shell of a land snail from the genus Megalobulimus (family Strophocheilidae).
MegalobulimusIt is on display in the Náprstek Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures in Prague. It is a part of the temporary exhibition Indians in 2017-2019 as the previous post.

It was made by Yanomami tribe and it was collected in Brazil in 1989. Yanomami belong to a big group of South American tropical forest cultures. Their religion is shamanism. Various hallucinogenic stuff helps to shamans to communicate with the realms of supernatural powers.

Yopo sniffing powder can be prepared like this. Only shamans should do this because it is causing intoxication. Take seeds of Anadenanthera peregrina tree. Roast them on a clay pot. Crush them into powder. You can add some lime or lime fired from crushed shells. Add some water. Made a paste. Form a small cakes from the paste. Dry the paste on a pot by the fire. When the paste is solid, mill it into a powder.

The whole set looks like this:MegalobulimusA snail shell container is used for storing the yopo “cakes”. It is made of the shell, a wood and of burned bee’s wax:
MegalobulimusWooden plate or a friction bowl is used to crush the yopo into a very fine powder. Yopo is inhalated from the plate too:
Wooden plateA hair brush is used to manipulate with the powder. A hair brush was made from anteater hairs and of burned bee’s wax. A stem is made of bones, of wood and of burned bee’s wax. It is used for sniffing the yopo powder:
a stem made of bonesA woven box is used to store all of those things.

For example there is very similar set depicted from Puerto Ayacucho in Venezuela on the figure 1. Puerto Ayacucho is about 500-600 km far away from the area where where Yanomami tribe exist.

Grossmann (1957) wrote, that Guahibo Indians produce yopo while adding calcium of snail shells to make yopo effective.  Nieves-Rivera et al. (1995) wrote, that Taino Indians from Caribbean added crushed shells to the yopo powder. The powder was made from big marine shells probably of true conchs Lobatus gigas, Lobatus costatus and Strombus pugilis. Altschul (1972) specified that Otomac culture from the area of Orinoco obtained the lime “… by firing the shells of large snails which the Indians eat and which they collect on river flood-banks.” That makes sense, because no matter how will you add calcium. Either from lime, from marine shells or from non-marine snail shells.

The Megalobulimus species could be Megalobulimus oblongus (Müller, 1774), but it is hard to be sure.
MegalobulimusAnother view of the container and the shell:

Altschul, S. R. (1972). The genus Anadenanthera in Amerindian cultures. Mass., Harvard University.

Fish, M. S., & Horning, E. C. (1956). Studies on hallucinogenic snuffs. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 124(1), 33-37.

Grossmann, E. N. (1957). Herbs in Folk Medicine. Western Folklore, 16(4), 290-292.

Nieves-Rivera, A. M., Muñoz-Vázquez, J., & Betancourt-López, C. (1995). Hallucinogens used by Taíno Indians in the West Indies. Atenea, 15(3), 125-141.

Photo of the day (86): Scyllaea pelagica

Scyllaea pelagica is a species of a nudibranch.

When I saw this sea slug for the first time, it resembled a floating rag to me. A very small floating rag. It is even waving in the water and it will bent easily in the smallest water current.

Scyllaea pelagicaScyllaea pelagicaI suppose that such appearance gives to a slug an advantage against predators. The brown coloration gives a resemblance to surroundings between the Sargassum brown algae. Its waving is a cryptic behaviour. Those are two ways of a camouflage.

Its constant movement and bending in every unobvious angles is a challenge for taking photos of this sea slug.

Its body length can reach up to 45 mm. My specimen comes from southern Croatia. The whole distribution of this species is large, because it can be found in all tropical and temperate seas. It is the only species from the family Scyllaeidae in Mediterranean Sea.

Let’s taken a closer look in a clearer position. Right side view of the Scyllaea pelagica heading right:
Scyllaea pelagicaLeft side view of the Scyllaea pelagica heading left:
Scyllaea pelagicaIts rhinophores are very small and they are hidden in rhinophore sheaths. Its head with mouth and with rhinophore sheaths looks like this from underside:
Scyllaea pelagicaThere are two pairs of lobes on its dorsal part of the body. Underside view:
Scyllaea pelagicaThere are also visible dendritic gills on the dorsal part and between lobes. Gills are transparent or white in color.
Scyllaea pelagicaThere is a genital pore on the right side of the body. It lies in front of the first pair of lobes. There is also anus on the right side of the body. It lies between those lobes.
Scyllaea pelagicaThere are also beautiful blue spots on the sides and on the dorsal part of the body.

Where are eyes? I found no eyes in my photos. I am also not sure what exactly are orange like structures inside the body of the slug.


Rudman, W.B., 2004 (March 10) Scyllaea pelagica Linnaeus, 1758. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney.

Cataneo-Vietti R., Chemello R. & Giannuzzi-Savelli R. (eds.) 1991 Atlas of Mediterranean nudibranchs. Atlante dei Nudibranchi del Mediterraneo. La Conchiglia, Roma, page 22 (only mention its occurrence and nothing more).