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Shell X-Rays

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Venus Comb Murex .Murex pecten.This striking murex snail may have over one hundred perfectly arranged and needle sharp spines. These long, thin, closely-spaced, recurved spines cover its varices (the longitudinal ridges) and siphonal canal (the long and narrow extension of the shell aperture or opening). The spines provide protection from predation as well as preventing this snail from burrowing in the fine sand and mud on which it lives. It is forced to raise its spines clear of the bottom by extending its tall columnar body so as to crawl forward in search of prey. Like other murex snails, it feeds on other molluscs and possesses a corneous or horn-like brown operculum which acts like a plug filling the aperture or opening of the shell with the body pulled inside. ..The venus comb murex is native to Indo-Pacific waters and although it is common, pristine specimens are difficult to obtain. This species grows to between 10 and 15 cm in length.