Drupe Snails are found on jetty piles and rocky reefs, on both sheltered and open coasts from 0-10m depth. They are widely distributed throughout Australia’s southern half, extending from southern Queensland across to the North West Cape in Western Australia. The amount of grooves and shell sculpture can vary greatly between locations throughout its entire range. However, shells in Western Australia tend to be relatively smooth and the shell opening has a bright orange rim. The soft body of this mollusc is dark; however the muscular foot is white. It is a carnivorous mollusc, which preys on invertebrates, mainly barnacles.
Other Common Names: Cart-Rut Shell, Thais orbita
Occurrence at the Busselton Jetty
Drupe Snails are often seen feeding on giant rock barnacles in the open water zone, where they will sit over the plates, drill their radula (or serrated tongue, characteristic of all gastropods) into the barnacle and secrete a paralysing fluid before consuming the animal.
Image by A. Brown