Recluz’s Moon Shell
Caracol de Luna Recluz
(Polinices recluzianus)

Recluz’s Moon Shell, Polinices recluzianus: Recluz’s Moon Shell is chunky and light brown in color with a whitish base. The callus extends from the apertural wall across the umbilicus.

They vary in size from 2.0 cm (0.8 inches) to 8.4 cm (3.3 inches).

They are found in all Mexican waters of the Pacific with the exception of locations south of the Tres Marias Islands. The shells have been found in Pleistocene Age deposits dating to perhaps 2 million years.

This shell can be easily confused with the Lewis’ Moon Shell, Euspira lewisii which is larger and more ovate.

Recluz’s Moon Shell is the medium sized member of the Naticidae family, the moon shells, which are predatory operculated sea snails. They are found intertidally over and within sand and mud bottoms plowing through substrate seeking prey. When on the prowl, the body extends well outside its shell; when threatened it can quickly withdraw into its shell by expelling large amounts of water through its foot. However, they cannot stay in these confined quarters for long because they drown. They feed mainly on bivalve mollusks by generating a large amount of mucus to confuse their prey and then drill a neat beveled hole in the shell with its radula and feed on the organisms soft flesh. The females deposit eggs, that number in the thousands, in a collar-shaped structure made of sand grains cemented together with mucus which is molded into shape and attached over the margin of the aperture. The have short spires and large body whorls. Members of the Polinices Genus have a horny operculum that is paucispiral, thin and ovate with the nucleus at the larger end.

Recluz’s Moon Shell picture

Recluz’s Moon Shell picture

Recluz’s Moon Shell, Polinices recluzianus: Provided by the commercial fishermen of the greater Los Cabos area, Baja California Sur, Mexico, in August 2011. Size: 5.8 cm (2.3 inches) x 4.8 cm (1.9 inches). Description and photos courtesy of John Snow.