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Large Necklace Shell, Euspira catena

Large necklace shells found on Clogherhead Beach in County Louth, Ireland.

The Large Necklace Shell or Moon Snail– Euspira catena- is a type of predatory sea snail or gastropod mollusc. It lives in waters from the Mediterranean to the Danish coasts and can be found around the coasts of Britain and Ireland living in sandy areas at depths of up to 125m.


Necklace Shells are carnivores which prey on bivalves (eg. clams) that they find buried in the sand. Their foot, which extends onto the shell and spreads out like a skirt across the seafloor, makes them more streamlined, helping them to burrow into the sand to attack their prey. Once attached to the bivalve, they penetrate the shell with an organ called a radula, drilling a distinctive round hole through which they can then suck out the contents. Their foot also protects them from predatory starfish by making it harder for the starfish to grip their slimy shell.


The Large Necklace Shell gets its name from the collar shaped mass of jelly and sand grains it lays its eggs in. Breeding occurs in spring and early summer.


The sand collar egg mass that the snail gets its name from. Photo Credit: Euspira catena (eggs). Hans Hillewaert/Lycaon, CC BY-SA 4.0

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