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Stomatella impertusa (Family Trochidae)

Elongate False Ear Shell



The Elongate False Ear Shell has a temperate Australian distribution. It ranges from the NSW and Qld border, around southern shores, including Vic, Tas, and SA to Kalbarri, WA. (NSW, VIC, TAS, SA, WA)


The Elongate False Ear Shell has a fragile, flattened, oblong-shaped shell with single, large body whorl. It grows to a length of 25mm. Its appearance is like a juvenile Abalone, Haliotis spp., but lacks the respiratory holes along shell margin. The Elongate False Ear Shell's sculpture consists of fine oblique striations. Although the animal lies within the wide, flared mouth of the shell, much of the animal's foot is exposed and cannot be retracted into the shell. When moving about, most of the animal's foot is freely exposed. There is no operculum. If disturbed, the animal can crawl quite quickly towards cover but if further molested the animal can break off the rear part of its foot, by autotomy. This can be regrown.

The colouration of the Elongate False Ear Shell is variable. It may include pink, slate grey, mauve, or black. It may also be marked with stripes, spots or streaks of other colours. The interior of the shell is iridescent, with pink, green or silver shadings.

Ecology/Way of Life:

The Elongate False Ear Shell may occur in groups at low tide levels or below to 7 metres depth, or in pools, often under rocks on sheltered to moderately exposed reefs.

Preferred Image

Interaction with Humans/Threats:

The Elongate False Ear Shell is considered to be common in NSW and Vic (Bennett) but uncommon to rare in Vic (CIOV).

Other Comments:

The western form, Stomatella auricula, Lamarck, 1816, is sympatric.

Stomatella is made up of stoma, a Greek word meaning mouth, and tellus, a Latin word referring to the Roman earth-goddess, or the earth. Impertusa is made up of three Latin words; im meaning not; pertarbare meaning thoroughly, and turbara meaning to disturb. So impertusa means to not thoroughly disturb.

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.276, Angus and Robertson. (as Gena impertusa).

Davey, K. (1998) A Photographic Guide to Seashore Life of Australia. p.86, New Holland Press, Sydney.

Edgar, G.J. (1997). Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. p.237, Reed.

Jansen, P. (2000), Seashells of South-East Australia. p.24, Capricornia Publications. (as Gena impertusa).

Macpherson, J.H. and Gabriel, C.J. (1962). Marine Molluscs of Victoria. p.74, Melbourne University Press. (as Gena impertusa).

Marine Research Group of Victoria (1984). Coastal Invertebtrates of Victoria: An atlas of selected species. p.41, Museum of Victoria.

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

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

Wells, F.E. and Bryce, C.W. (1988). Seashells of Western Australia. p.42, Western Australian Museum. (as Stomatella auricula).


Text, map and photograph by Keith Davey.

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Images and Multi-media:  
Attached Image  
image/jpeg 35236 bytes Elongate False Ear Shell
Distribution Map  
image/gif 1031 bytes Distribution of Elongate False Ear Shell

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