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Cominella eburnea (Family Buccinidae)

Ribbed Cominella



This species has a temperate Australian distribution. It ranges from southern NSW shores across southern Australian shores, including Vic, Tas, SA, and south-eastern WA to Geraldton (NSW, VIC, TAS, SA, WA).


The Ribbed Cominella has a solid, high-spired shell with distinctly angled whorls. It grows to a length of 30-40 mm. It is biconic, meaning that it is shaped like two cones joined together. At one third of the shell length a distinct shoulder is marked with heavy nodules. The whorls are sculptured with low spiral cords and grooves. It has a narrow, oval, ridged aperture that ends in a wide anterior canal and a sharp outer lip. The aperture is half the length of the shell. The brown coloured operculum consists of horn material. The brown coloured columella is smooth.

The shell exterior is a light yellow-brown in colour with irregular brown to reddish-brown spots or blotches, all partly obscured by a periostracum covering. The aperture is light brown with a white interior.

Ecology/Way of Life:

The Ribbed Cominella occurs commonly on sandbanks and in sandy rock pools of semi-protected bays and inlets, where it replaces the Spotted Cominella, Cominella lineolata, an open coast species. Like other members of the Family Buccinidae, it is carnivorous. They mostly feed on other molluscs, or they scavenge for animal remains. It ranges from low tide level to 10 metres depth. The female lays a long string of tent-shaped capsules onto sagrass or algae fronds. Only a few emerge as crawling juveniles (Shepherd & Thomas, 862).

Preferred Image

Interaction with Humans/Threats:

This is a common species in protected bays and inlets of Victoria and South Australia. Oil or chemical spills may pose a threat.

Other Comments:

Cominella eburnea, Reeve, 1846. Cominella may come from (L.) combinare = to join, referring to the shape of two cones joined together, while eburnea is from (L.) eburneus - ebur = ivory.

Further Reading:

Davey, K. (1998) A Photographic Guide to Seashore Life of Australia p.115. New Holland Press, Sydney.

Edgar, G.J. (1997). Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. p.262, Reed.

Marine Research Group of Victoria (1984). Coastal Invertebrates of Victoria: An atlas of selected species. p.62. Museum of Victoria.

Macpherson, J.H. & Gabriel, C.J. (1962). Marine Molluscs of Victoria. p.190, Melbourne University Press.

Shepherd, S.A. & Thomas, I.M. (1989). Marine Invertebrates of Southern Australia. Pt. II. p.597, 862. South Australian Govt. Printing.

Wells, F.E. & Bryce, C.W. (1988). Seashells of Western Australia. p.96, Western Australian Museum.

Wilson, B.R. & Gillett, K. (1979). A Field Guide to Australian Shells: Prosobranch Gastropods. p. 170, Reed.


Text, map & photograph by Keith Davey.

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Images and Multi-media:  
Attached Image  
image/jpeg 14476 bytes Ribbed Cominella
Distribution Map  
image/gif 1017 bytes Distribution of Ribbed Cominella

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