Cabestana spengleri
Cabestana spengleri
Description: Cabestana spengleri is part of the superfamily, Tonnoidea. They are a group of sea snails, called whelks, with medium to large sized sea shells. The shells are referred to as tun shells. The Cabestana spengleri, in particular, has a shell with strong spiral ribs and nodulose, or unshapely, shoulders. The outer lip of the shell is usually thickened and strongly toothed within. The shell is covered by a thin, smooth yellowish-brown periostracum (organic, skin-like coating) when alive. It has one posterior tooth and a short, anterior canal opening. It is also fawn-colored ribs with regular brown grooves.
Cabestana spengleri can be up to 180 mm, which is very small, especially by human standards.The Cabestana spengleri is commonly found in Australia and New Zealand. In Australia, it is found in Caloundra.
Habitat: The Cabestana spengleriis usually found among rocks on exposed rocky shores, intertidally. Being a sea snail, it spends most of its time in marine enviroments with saltwater. Cabestana spengleri live in areas that are human populated more than not. This is the most common large gastropod on rocky shores around Sydney. It can readily be found at dead low tide level, and is very common as a beach shell.
Outer Anatomy of a Sea Snail
Outer Anatomy of a Sea Snail

Niche: Cabestana spengleri are close to the bottom of the food chain. Whelks find themselves consumed by humans commercially and humans have even stripped them of their shells for cosmetic appeal. Other organisms, such as the hermit crab, use its shell for protection. Cabestana spengleri is a predatory whelk, though, which can consume oysters, scallops, carrion and worms. They are also adept at locating prey based on the smells carried by the water. They can actually dig into the shells of some bivalves and scrape the flesh out.

Reproduction: Cabestana spengleri, like all other snails, are hermaphrodites. In the diagram above, one can notice that both reproductive organs exist in the snail. When snails come together sexually after a mating ritual, both partners have fertilized eggs and will leave to lay them else where in a gelatinous heap in a cool area. Two to four weeks later, the baby snail is born and immediately goes into survival mode.

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