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Clypeomorus petrosa (Family Cerithiidae)

Sand Creeper



The Sand Creeper has a south-western Pacific Distribution. It ranges from Torres Strait, off Cape York, Qld. down the eastern coast to northern NSW (QLD, NSW).


The Sand Creeper has a small, long, tapering shell that has heavily noduled, strong spirals. It grows to 25-30 mm in length. The body whorl and the last whorls are inflated, or enlarged. The sculpture consists of 8-9 noduled spiral cords and numerous spiral threads on the large body whorl. There are three nodular spiral cords and numerous threads on the spire whorls. The nodes are occasionally spiny. The strong growth varices or markings that can be seen on the large body whorl are distinct. The Sand Creeper has an oblique aperture, with backward curving siphonal canal. The outer lip is thin, and wavy, called crenulated. It has a thin operculum that covers the aperture.

In colour the shell may be brown, yellow, white or cream, while the nodules are white tipped and the nodes are coloured dark brown or black. This creates a spotted or sometimes banded appearance.

Ecology/Way of Life:

The Sand Creeper occurs at mid to low tide levels, and below on sand or among coral and rocks. It feeds on algae and micro-organisms in the detritus. The females lay strings of eggs that are protected within gelatinous material. The eggs hatch into free-living larvae.

Preferred Image

Interaction with Humans/Threats:

Although this species occurs along the length of the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, it is unknown what human threats might harm this species other than threats to the reef itself, or increased agricultural runout in northern eastern rivers changing the dynamics of the reef ecosystems.

Other Comments:

Scientific Name: Clypeomorus petrosa. Wood, 1828. Wood first described this species in 1828. The genus name Clypeomorus comes from two Latin words. Clypeus means a rounded shield and morus means a mulberry, alluding to its spotted appearance. Petrosa comes from the Latin word petrosus or petra meaning a rock.

Further Reading:

Davey, K. (1998) A Photographic Guide to Seashore Life of Australia. p. 94, New Holland Press, Sydney.

Endean, R. (1982) Australia's Great Barrier Reef. p.133. University of Queensland Press.

Short, J.W. & Potter, D.G. (1987). Shells of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. p. 22. Golden Press.

Wilson, B. (1993) Australian Marine Shells. V. 1. P. 121.


Text, map & photograph Keith Davey.

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Images and Multi-media:  
Attached Image  
image/jpeg 85498 bytes Sand Creeper
Distribution Map  
image/gif 958 bytes Distribution of Sand Creeper

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