Apple snail

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Apple snail
Housing of Phyllonotus pomum

Housing of Phyllonotus pomum

Subordination : Hypsogastropoda
Partial order : New snails (Neogastropoda)
Superfamily : Muricoidea
Family : Spiny snails (Muricidae)
Genre : Phyllonotus
Type : Apple snail
Scientific name
Phyllonotus pomum
( Gmelin , 1791)

The apple prickly pear or scallop apple ( Phyllonotus pomum ) is a snail from the family of spiny snails (genus Phyllonotus ), which is widespread in the western Atlantic . It feeds mainly on mollusks .


The spindle-shaped, strongly bulbous, solid snail shell of Phyllonotus pomum , which in adult snails can reach a length of up to 12.5 cm, has a rough and uneven surface with fine spiral stripes and rounded, keel-shaped raised ridges. The three varices per handle run axially over the housing as thick rounded bulges, which are covered on the front with curled and partially raised lamellae, but the housing does not have any spines. Between the ridges there are elongated humps, the rear of which is much larger and higher. The thread is high, almost conical and pointed. In total, the house has seven to eight arched, slightly flattened turns at the top, which initially increase slowly and have a dented, somewhat uneven seam. The edge of the mouth is slightly wrinkled and straight up on the columella , the outer lip tightly serrated. The approximately round mouth of the case ends in a very short, downwardly curved siphon channel, which is covered with two hollow lamellae. The case is brownish yellow or reddish brown with a brown band on the upper part of the coils. The bulges and their lamellas are alternately brown and white, the columella and the inside of the case mouth are colored ocher yellow, the columellar lip lively maroon and the outer lip with three maroon spots.

Phyllonotus pomum has a short radula with very strong teeth - the strongest known in the Muricidae family - with which it drills large and approximately round holes even through thick calcareous shells.


The apple spiny snail occurs in the Caribbean Sea , the Gulf of Mexico and around the Lesser Antilles , in the Atlantic Ocean between North Carolina and northern Brazil .


The apple snail is often found on soft and hard substrates such as oyster beds . It lives in the intertidal zone and below to depths of about 200 m.

Life cycle

Like other spiny snails, Phyllonotus pomum is separate sexes. The male mates with the female with his penis . In the period from May to July, up to 30 females come together to jointly attach their clutches of up to 30 cm with around 240 to 1800 (on average 750) egg capsules to the solid substrate, for example large, empty mussel shells. According to measurements in Florida, an egg capsule is on average about 7.5 mm long, 6 mm wide and 2.5 mm thick. It contains numerous eggs, of which about 11 to 18 (an average of 13, according to other measurements, also in Florida, 2 to 5) develop into snails, while the others serve as food eggs. The development of the Veliger stage takes place in the egg capsule, so that finished snails hatch.


Phyllonotus pomum particularly eats mussels whose shell is pierced with the radula under the action of acid. The snail leads its proboscis through the drilled hole to the victim's meat. The preferred prey animals include large specimens of the Crassostrea virginica oyster species , whose population dynamics are significantly influenced by the snail.

Importance to humans

Phyllonotus pomum , long known by Gmelin under the original name Murex pomum , is collected for its shell. The meat is eaten raw or cooked.

As an important predator for oysters , Phyllonotus pomum is undesirable for mussel producers.

Individual evidence

  1. Lovell Augustus Reeve : Conchologia iconica: or, illustrations of the shells of molluscous animals. Vol. III. Reeve Brothers, King William Street, Strand, London 1845. Murex, Plate IX, Species 35. Murex Pomum. The Apple Murex.
  2. ^ Heinrich Carl Küster , Wilhelm Kobelt : The tailed and armored purple snails (Murex, Ranella, Tritonium, Trophon, Hindsia). Wilhelm Kobelt: Purpuracea Menke. Purple snails. Second division. Purple snails with an elongated base and raised transverse ridges. Systematic Conchylia Cabinet. Nuremberg, 1878. pp. 21-22. No. 14. Murex pomum Gmelin. The apple snail .
  3. ^ A b George E. Radwin, Harry W. Wells: Comparative Radular Morphology and Feeding Habits of Muricid Gastropods from the Gulf of Mexico . In: Bulletin of Marine Science. 18 (1), 1968, pp. 72-85.
  4. World Register of Marine Species , Phyllonotus pomum (Gmelin, 1791)
  5. Leal / FAO (2002).
  6. Malacolog Version 4.1.1 - A Database of Western Atlantic Marine Mollusca: Phyllonotus pomum (Gmelin, 1791)
  7. ^ Charles N. d'Asaro: Egg Capsules of Prosobranch Mollusks from South Florida and the Bahamas and Notes on Spawning in the Laboratory . In: Bulletin of Marine Science. 20 (2), 1970, pp. 414-440.
  8. George E. Radwin, J. Lockwood Chamberlin: Patterns of Larval Development in Stenoglossan Gastropods . In: Transactions of The San Diego Society of Natural History. 17, 1973, pp. 107-118.
  9. ^ Winston R. Menzel, Fred E. Nichy, Studies of the Distribution and Feeding Habits of Some Oyster Predators in Alligator Harbor, Florida . In: Bulletin of Marine Science. 8 (2), 1958, pp. 125-145.


  • GE Radwin, A. D'Attilio: Murex shells of the world. An illustrated guide to the Muricidae . Stanford Univ. Press, Stanford 1976, ISBN 978-0-8047-0897-5 , x + pp. 1–284 including 192 figs. + 32 pls. Phyllonotus pomum : p. 91.

Web links

Commons : Phyllonotus pomum  - collection of images, videos and audio files
  • Muricidae: Chicoreus pomum (Gmelin, 1791) . From: José H. Leal: Gastropods. In: Kent E. Carpenter (ed.): FAO Species identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of the Western Central Atlantic. Volume 1: Introduction, molluscs, crustaceans, hagfishes, sharks, batoid fishes and chimaeras. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, 2002. p. 131.