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Serrata mustelina (Angas, 1871)

Diagnosis: Shell medium in size, colourless transparent or opaque white, with three to five brown bands, these narrow to broad, continuous or interrupted; spire low; lip thickened internally, varying from smooth to denticulate along its whole length; external varix present; lacking a siphonal notch; lacking parietal callus deposits and ridge; columella with four strong plaits and rarely a weak fifth, occupying less than half the aperture length.

Size: Up to 8 mm in length.

Distribution: Australian Museum Collection:  Queensland to south-western WA.  Also recorded from New Zealand, but there is debate on whether that  is the same species.  Known as dead beach shells, live intertidally on rocky shores, and down to 320 metres.  Moderately common.

Comparison: There are several similar species (eg, Serrata agatha Laseron, 1948) recorded from Queensland .  Until a clear differentiation can be made between these and S. mustelina, it is not possible to give a firm northern limit for the species. (See Identification of beach specimens).

Synonymy: Marginella pellucida Tenison-Woods, 1879;  Marginella stanislas Tenison-Woods, 1877 (Hewish in Wilson, 1994)

Remarks: The animal of this species is illustrated by Ponder (1970).  He describes it as white with a very large foot indented in front.  There is no operculum, and delicate, smooth mantle edges cover the shell when in the dark, quickly retracting when light falls on the animal.  There are long, slender tentacles with a large eye a little above the base, and a short siphon.

Fig. 1a:  Broulee, NSW, beach (C.314374)

Fig. 1b:  Twofold Bay, NSW, 9-27 m (C.314411)

Copyright Des Beechey 2003