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Natica sagittata Menke, 1843

Description: Shell white or fawn, with spiral bands of brown patches below the suture and at the base of the body whorl. Between these bands the body whorl is decorated with a faint pattern of closely spaced wavy lines which form 2 or 3 spiral bands of chevrons. Columella and callus white. Operculum calcareous, white, with two ribs around the outer edge.

Size: Up to 13 mm in length.

Distribution: Known from the entire Australian coastline except the Great Australian Bight, but see remarks below.

Habitat: Intertidal, in rock pools with sand and rubble. Locally common.

Comparison: The elegant sagittate pattern is enough to distinguish this species from any other in NSW. The tropical species Natica euzona Récluz, 1844 is similarly patterned, but is a much larger and lighter shell.

Synonym: Notocochlis cothurnata Iredale, 1936

Remarks: This species is indistinguishable on shell characters from the tropical Indo-West Pacific species Natica euzona Recluz, 1844, except that tropical specimens of the later are of a larger size. The two species may be the same, but in that case the combined species would have an unlikely distribution of the Indo-West Pacific and most of the Australian coastline.

Figs. 1,2: Broulee, NSW (C.359122)

Copyright Des Beechey 2000