Species Index

Bembicium nanum
(Lamarck, 1822)

Distribution: Common throughout hard surfaces of rocky shores in the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Endemic to Australia, ranging from Yeppoon in central Queensland south to Port Lincoln in South Australia, and including Tasmania.

Ecological Notes: Frequents hard rocky areas on moderately exposed shores from the mid to high tide level where it grazes on microscopic algae and lichens.

Additional Notes: An abundant species often with an eroded shell which is conical, with brown wavy lines obliquely across the lower portion, orange colouration near the apex. The the ratio of height to width is in the range 0.49 – 1.47. It has a tight fitting operculum enabling them to survive long periods between tides. Sexes are separate and fertilisation takes place internally. Eggs are deposited by the female in gelatinous masses in fissures and other sheltered areas on hard surfaces within their habitat. Veliger larvae hatch after around 12 days and enter the plankton before settling. An algal grazer it may move as much as 0.5 to 1 metre per day. May grow to 22 mm in height but commonly 15 mm. 

References: Graham J. Edgar. Australian Marine Life, 2nd Edition, 2008. Reed New Holland Publishers. pp.285-6.

The Seashells of New South Wales, Des Beechey, Senior Fellow, Australian Museum, Release 25. Website at Accessed 26/10/2018.