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Thais echinata (Family Muricidae)

Spiny Thaid


The Spiny Thaid has a northern tropical Australian distribution. It ranges from the Abrolhos Islands, WA around northern shores, including NT, to southern Qld (WA, NT, QLD).


The Spiny Thaid has a sturdy, thick oval shaped shell with prominent pointed nodules. Its spire is moderately high, and the shell is sculptured with four rows of pointed nodules and spiral fine threads called lirae. It grows to a shell length of 50 mm. The siphonal canal is a notch, but has a thickened, spiny fasciole that consists of bands that indicate the growth of the siphonal notch. The aperture and columella are smooth.

The shell external colour is creamy grey to fawn, while the interior and columella are glossy white. The shell may be heavily eroded as is shown in the photograph.

Ecology/Way of Life:

The Spiny Thaid is a common predatory carnivorous mollusc found on the intertidal and the shallow sublittoral regions of rocky shores and coral reefs across northern tropical Australia. It feeds on barnacles, bivalves and other molluscs.

Interaction with Humans/Threats:

The Spiny Thais is a common inhabitant of northern Australian shores and does not appear to be under threat from human activities.

Other Comments:

Thais echinata, Blainville, 1832. Echinata comes from the Greek word echinos, meaning a hedgehog.

Further Reading:

Davey, K. (1998) A Photographic Guide to Seashore Life of Australia. p.111, New Holland Press, Sydney.

Short, J. W. & Potter, D. G. (1987). Shells of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. p.58, Golden Press.

Wells, F. E. & Bryce, C. W. (1988). Seashells of Western Australia. p.92, Western Australian Museum.

Wilson, B. (1993) Australian Marine Shells. Prosobranch gastropods. p.48, plate 4, Odyssey Publishing.

Wilson, B. R. & Gillett, K. (1979). A Field Guide to Australian Shells: Prosobranch Gastropods. p.154, Reed.


Text, map & photograph by Keith Davey.

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