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Lepsiella flindersi (Family Muricidae)

Flinders' Lepsiella



Flinders' Lepsiella has a temperate distribution across southern Australia. Its range includes Vic, Tas, and SA to Cockburn Sound, WA (VIC, TAS, SA, WA).


Flinders' Lepsiella has a medium sized, solid, spiralled shell with a large last body whorl. It grows to a length of 25-30 mm, while its diameter is 15 mm. Its spire is cone-shaped about one-third the shell length. The whorls have a distinct, noduled shoulder. The shell has a rough sculpture of strong spiral ribs, seven on the largest whorl, while fine lamellae or lines run across the ribs, giving the impression of fine scales. The broad aperture is oblique and long, and is two-thirds the length of the shell. The front siphonal canal in the aperture is both short and narrow.

The shell of Flinders' Lepsiella is white to greenish-white in colour, with a light brown coloured operculum. Inside the shell is violet-brown. The thick, almost straight columella is white with a yellow edge.

Ecology/Way of Life:

Flinders' Lepsiella occurs on rocks and reefs at low tide level and below to 10 metres depth. It is an active, carnivorous mollusc that feeds on barnacles and mussels. It uses its radula tongue as an efficient drill to bore through the shell of its prey so that it can devour the flash inside. It is larger and wider than the Wine-mouthed Lepsiella, Lepsiella vinosa. The Reticulated Lepsiella, Lepsiella reticulata has more nodules and is marked with dark spots.

Preferred Image

Interaction with Humans/Threats:

This appears to be a common species across southern Australia and appears to be under no threat from human activities. Unusually, this species is not mentioned in the Marine Research Group of Victoria's book, Coastal Invertebrates of Victoria: An atlas of selected species. Published by the Museum of Victoria in 1984. This may indicate that it is more rare in Victoria than its relation's L. vinosa and L. reticulata.

Other Comments:

Lepsiella flindersi, A. Adams & Angus, 1863 or 1864. Lepsiella comes from the Greek word lepra or lepros, meaning scaly, while ella may come from the Latin word ulna, meaning elbow, referring to the distinct, noduled shoulders of this species. Flindersi comes from Matthew Flinders, the early navigator who circumnavigated, mapped and first gave the name Australia to this island continent.

Further Reading:

Davey, K. (1998) A Photographic Guide to Seashore Life of Australia. p.113, New Holland Press, Sydney.

Edgar, G.J. (1997). Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. p.258, Reed.

Macpherson, J. H. & Gabriel, C. J. (1962). Marine Molluscs of Victoria. p.179, Melbourne University Press.

Shepherd, S. A. & Thomas, I. M. (1989). Marine Invertebrates of Southern Australia. Pt. II. p.594, South Australian Govt. Printing.

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

Wilson, B. (1993) Australian Marine Shells. Prosobranch gastropods. Odyssey Publishing.

Wilson, B. R. & Gillett, K. (1979). A Field Guide to Australian Shells: Prosobranch Gastropods. p.158, Reed.


Text, map & photograph by Keith Davey.

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Images and Multi-media:  
Attached Image  
image/jpeg 24571 bytes Flinders' Lepsiella
Distribution Map  
image/gif 963 bytes Distribution of Flinders' Lepsiella

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