Hexaplex trunculus

Hexaplex trunculus

Hexaplex trunculus, Banded dye-murex

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Hexaplex trunculus

Hexaplex trunculus (previously known as Murex trunculus, Phyllonotus trunculus, or the banded dye-murex) is a medium-sized sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Muricidae, the murex shells or rock snails. It is included in the subgenus Trunculariopsis.

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This species is a group of opportunist predatory snails that are known to attack their prey in groups. What is peculiar about this specific species is that they show no preference for the size of their prey, regardless of their hunger levels.

The snail appears in fossil records dating between the Pliocene and Quaternary periods (between 3.6 and 0.012 million years ago). Fossilized shells have been found in Morocco, Italy, and Spain.

This sea snail is historically important because its hypobranchial gland secretes a mucus used to create a distinctive purple-blue indigo dye. Ancient Mediterranean cultures, including the Minoans, Canaanites/Phoenicians, Hebrews, and classical Greeks created dyes from the snails. One of the dye's main chemical ingredients is red dibromo-indigotin, the main component of tyrian purple or tekhelet. The dye will turn indigo blue, similar to the color of blue jeans, if exposed to sunlight before the dye sets.

  • Hexaplex trunculus trunculus (Linnaeus, 1758)

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Hexaplex trunculus has a broadly conical shell about 4 to 10 cm long. It has a rather high spire with seven angulated whorls, and the shell is formed similar to the shape of a fish. The shell is variable in sculpture and coloring with dark banding, in four varieties. The ribs sometimes develop thickenings or spines and give the shell a rough appearance. The shell is often covered in algae, which camouflages it, making it appear very similar to the seabed.



This species lives in the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic coasts of Europe and Africa, specifically Spain, Portugal, Morocco, the Canary Islands, Azores.This murex occurs in shallow, sublittoral waters.

Hexaplex trunculus habitat map
Hexaplex trunculus habitat map
Hexaplex trunculus
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1. Hexaplex trunculus Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hexaplex_trunculus

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