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Bullina lineata (Family Bullinidae)

Red-Lined Bubble Shell



The Red-Lined Bubble Shell is widespread in the Indo-Pacific region. In Australia it ranges from Cowaramup, WA, around northern tropical shores including NT, and Qld to Bermagui, NSW (WA, NT, QLD, NSW).


The Red-Lined Bubble Shell is a beautiful mollusc with a small, solid, spirally grooved shell, marked with a distinctive pattern of pink lines. It grows to a length of 15-25 mm. It has a medium-sized spire and a large, wide, blue-margined foot that can be withdrawn into its shell and sealed with the operculum.

Black eyespots are located on the mantle folds that lie in front of the shell. The exterior colour is white to cream, with thin, distinctive pink lines. The animal is almost translucent, with a distinctive bright blue edge to the margin.

Ecology/Way of Life:

The Red-Lined Bubble Shell occurs on sheltered sand and reefs, at low tidal levels. It is often found crawling in sand and shell grit on ocean beaches near rocky shores. It is sporadic in occurrence. It feeds on polychaete worms. In eastern Australia near Sydney it appears to be a summer visitor. The Red-Lined Bubble Shell is in the Opisthobranch group and is related to the nudibranchs, sea-hares and bubble shells.

Preferred Image

Interaction with Humans/Threats:

The Red-Lined Bubble Shell appears to be more common in northern parts of its range but appears to extend its range southwards in the summer months.

Other Comments:

Scientific Name: Bullina lineata. Gray, 1825. Bullinula melior, Iredale, 1929, and Perbullina errans, Iredale, 1929, and Bullina nobilis, Habe, 1950, are synonyms.

Bullina comes from the Latin word bulla, meaning a ball, while lineata comes from the Latin word linea or linum meaning a line, thread, cord or string. This species has a ball-shaped shell that is marked with fine pink lines.

Further Reading:

Bennett, I. (1987). W. J. Dakin's classic study: Australian Seashores: a guide to the temperate shores for the beach-lover, the naturalist, the shore-fisherman and the student. p.296, Angus & Robertson.

Davey, K. (1998) A Photographic Guide to Seashore Life of Australia. p.120, New Holland Press, Sydney.

Edgar, G.J. (1997). Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. p.270, Reed.

Jansen, P. (2000), Seashells of South-East Australia. p.70, Capricornia Publications. Short, J. W. & Potter, D. G. (1987). Shells of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. p.114, Golden Press.


Text, map & photograph by Keith Davey.

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Images and Multi-media:  
Attached Image  
image/jpeg 65757 bytes Red-Lined Bubble Shell
Distribution Map  
image/gif 1027 bytes Distribution of Red-Lined Bubble Shell

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