Sunday, March 02, 2008

Voluta nobilis

The second episode of Once Upon A Tree: Tides and Coastlines brought us back to nostalgic Singapore. Those were the days when people live much of their lives connected to the sea, for work as well as for play.

Work because, for example, The Raffles Hotel once stood just by the beach and would even be flooded during times of extreme high tides. Play, because trips to the sea then mean clear water, good fishing and excellent exploring on the seashore. The elders interviewed on the show mentioned big corals, huge fishes and dolphins were a regular sight. I’m quite sure one of the creatures they would have seen often too is this magnificent seashell, Voluta nobilis.

Voluta nobilis or “kilah” in the local language was once very common. They are now rarely encountered but still exists, mainly on our offshore islands. This pretty individual was spotted at Pulau Semakau recently. It’s been a while since I saw a live one, most of the time I found them as empty shells inhabited by hermit crabs. This individual’s siphon was fully extended as it searched for prey like bivalves. It will use its huge foot to suffocate and force its prey to open their shelves for oxygen. Once that occur, then its mealtime for V. nobilis.

Perhaps the elders from the documentary would be glad to know “kilah” can still be found in our waters.

Pictures and videos taken at: Pulau Semakau, February 2008.


Tan, K. S. & L. M. Chou, 2000. A Guide to Common Seashells of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre, Singapore



Marit said...

In Huay Yang we found a emty shell and a living Voluta Nobilis, and it was big the shell nearly 20 cm maybee a little bigger, unfortunatly we didnt take a picture. Date 2011/06/17.

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