NAME: Helmet shell (Phalium labiatum zeylanicum)
SIZE: Up to 100mm.
DISTRIBUTION: Cape Peninsula to Kosi Bay, subtidally to at least 15m. Endemic.
DESCRIPTION: A smooth-shelled snail with a peach-coloured foot. The shell is mottled creamy orange to purplish brown with a thicker outer lip. The lip is spotted with white and has dark barring. The foot has a yellow margin. Obvious dark eye knobs at the base of the longitudinally striped tentacles.
NATURAL HISTORY: Usually found on sandy areas around shallow reefs. This snail bores holes in urchins and pansy shells to feed on them.
Familiarize yourself with these interesting creatures and other marine animals for your next dive. For more information grab a copy of this book “A Field Guide to the Marine Animals of the Cape Peninsula” by Georgina Jones available in Pisces Divers.