Terebellum terebellum (Linnaeus, 1758)

Terebellum terebellum used to be considered one of the Strombidae, but now is often put in its own family, the Seraphsidae. They are reasonably common buried in sand in lagoon and seaward reef areas. It is a very active animal capable or rapidly burying in the sand, hopping away, or even swimming several meters through the water. It appears to spin its foot kind of like a propeller for swimming. A rather thin and fragile shell, it would probably be easy prey if it could not move so quickly. Some have called it the fastest snail. Marshall Islands specimens have been found between about 5 and 20m depth, and range in shell length up to about 34mm. This species is known to be distributed widely in the Indo-Pacific, from east Africa and the Red Sea to the Marshalls and Samoa.

Note the long stalked eyes poking up through the sand.

Created 1 October 2009
Updated 11 October 2016

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