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Phylum Mollusca (shellfish and octopuses)


The phylum Mollusca includes snails, slugs, clams, mussels, octopuses and squid. Most molluscs have a well-developed, muscular foot. This structure is used in a multitude of ways, for example: locomotion, clinging to surfaces, burrowing, anchoring in sediment, swimming, and grasping (modified into prehensile tentacles in octopuses). A layer of skin tissue called the mantle surrounds the body of molluscs. Specialized glands in the mantle  produce the mollusc shell made from calcium carbonate, either in calcite or aragonite form. Molluscs have adapted to terrestrial, marine and freshwater habitats all over Earth, although most molluscs are marine. Nearly 100,000 mollusc species are known and many thousands of species remain undescribed. Around 80% of known molluscs are snails and slugs.


For more information see http://eol.org/pages/2195/overview


For more information on Tasmanian Molluscs see http://www.molluscsoftasmania.net


An essential book for anyone interested in identifying Tasmanian molluscs is The Seashells of Tasmania: a comprehensive guide by Simon Grove,

see http://www.molluscsoftasmania.net/Publications%20pages/Grove_2011.pdf


Austrocochlea constricta 

Rib-top Snail

Abundant on most rocky shores, can survive out of water between high tides. WA to NSW and around Tas

For more information see http://www.molluscsoftasmania.net/Species%20pages/Austrocochlea%20constricta.html

MDC locations: touch tanks


Barbatia pistachia

Hairy ark-shell

Found in subtidal areas, often embedded in sponges or attached beneath rocks, from Qld through to WA including Tasmania.

For more information see http://www.molluscsoftasmania.net/Species%20pages/Barbatia%20pistachia.html

MDC locations: touch tanks


Charonia rubicunda 

Reddish rock-whelk

Lives sub tidally among rocks and seaweed. Widespread but seldom beached. More common in Tas in the south and east. Also in QLD, NSW, Vic, SA & WA, South Africa, Japan, Mediterranean, NE Atlantic. For more information see http://www.molluscsoftasmania.net/Species%20pages/Charonia%20rubicunda.html

MDC locations: touch tanks


Haliotis rubra

Black Lip Abalone

Habitat: Exposed reef; 0-40 m depth

Distribution: WA to NSW and around Tasmania

Maximum Size: Length to 200 mm

Diet: Algae

Comments: Blacklip abalone are the most common found in southern Tasmania. It is distinguished from the Greenlip abalone (Haliotis laevigata), by its black edged foot and tentacles, and a darker, more ribbed shell.  The  shell of older animals is often heavily eroded and covered by algae and invertebrates. The Blacklip abalone is the third most valuable fishery species in Australia/

For more information see http://bie.ala.org.au/species/Haliotis+rubra

MDC locations: aquaria


Mimachlamys asperrima

Doughboy Scallop

Doughboy scallops are often encrusted with sponge and algae. Has 64 eyes blue eyes. Filters water to feed on plankton. WA to QLD and around Tas.

For more information see


MDC locations: touch tanks, aquaria


Octopus pallidus

Pale Octopus

Habitat: Sand; 0-275 m depth

Distribution: SA to NSW and around Tasmania

Maximum Size: Length to 350mm

Diet: Bivalves, small fish and other invertebrates

Comments:  This species has a relatively large body and is reddish brown to orange in colour.  It can change colour to camouflage or to display emotion, and will also raise the skin on the body in relatively long, spiny extensions.  Most live alone, foraging at night and hiding during the day. They live in lairs often distinguished by a pile of shells. These octopus are also caught commercially in Tasmania using plastic pots left on the sandy bottom for several days.

For more information see http://bie.ala.org.au/species/Octopus+pallidus

MDC locations: aquaria


Cominella lineolata

Lined whelk

Very common in rock pools, rock platforms and sand flats in sheltered areas. Scavengers. Southern WA, SA, Tas, Vic & NSW.

For more information see


MDC locations: touch tanks


Dicathais orbita

Cartrut Shell

Common in rock pools and crevices on rock platforms, often in groups. Feeds on a wide variety of other animals. Found around Australia and NZ but not in tropical waters.

For more information see


MDC locations: touch tanks


Equichlamys bifrons  

Queen Scallop

Has 64 eyes blue eyes. Filters water to feed on plankton. SA to NSW and around Tas.

For more information see


MDC locations: touch tanks, aquaria


Xenostrobus securis

Axe-head mussel

Lives in the intertidal habitat among seaweed and seagrass in estuaries. Often attached to rocks, from Qld to WA including Tasmania (locally common in southern Tasmania).

For more information see


MDC locations: touch tanks


Pecten fumatus 

King, or Commercial, Scallop

The largest animals are up to 15 years old. Has 64 eyes blue eyes. Filters water to feed on plankton. WA to Central Qld, including Tas.

For more information see


MDC locations: touch tanks, aquaria


Penion maximus

Great whelk

Lives subtidal and offshore on sand, from QLD, NSW, TAS and VIC.

For more information see


MDC locations: touch tanks


Australaria australasia

Australian Tulip Shell

Found in sandy areas on reefs at low tide, feeds on other animals. Other common names include Australian tulip shell or Red Foot Snail. Southern WA, SA, Tas, Vic & NSW.

For more information see


MDC locations: touch tanks


Lunella undulata

Wavy Turbo

Other common names include Periwinkle, Wavy turban, Warrener. Common on rocky shores and rock pools. Southern WA, SA, Tas, Vic, and NSW.

For more information see http://www.molluscsoftasmania.net/Species%20pages/Lunella%20undulata.html

MDC locations: touch tanks