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  • José H. Leal

Shell of the Week: The Caribbean Melampus

Melampus monile (Bruguière, 1789) reaches about 16 mm in length. The shell is bullet-shaped, widest at posterior (upper) third. The spire is low. The aperture spans about ¾ of the shell length. The columella has two folds, one larger. The outer lip is smooth, but the internal surface of the aperture has about 12 raised, narrow spiral ridges. The color ranges from mahogany-brown to yellowish, with one broad, whitish spiral band below the suture of the last whorl. The shell interior is whitish. The species is found in marshy areas and mud flats, and is possibly the rarest of the local species of the genus Melampus.


The Caribbean Melampus, Melampus monile, from Sanibel, Florida. Illustration by James F. Kelly.