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Rapana venosa   (Valenciennes, 1846)

purple whelk
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Classification Common names | Synonyms | CoL | ITIS | WoRMS

Gastropoda | Neogastropoda | Muricidae

Main reference References | Biblio | Coordinator | Collaborators

Tan, K.S. 2000. (Ref. 81755)

Size / Weight / Age

Max length : 16.1 cm DL male/unsexed; (Ref. 83435)


Benthic; brackish; depth range 10 - 60 m (Ref. 83435)

Climate / Range

Tropical; 4°C - 35°C (Ref. 88058); 46°N - 21°N, 112°E - 145°E (Ref. 88058)

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Introductions

Northwest Pacific. Introduced in the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and Black Sea.

Short description

The species has a short-spired, heavy shell with a large inflated deep body whorl and deep umbilicus. The columella is broad, smooth, and slightly concave. Small and elongated teeth are present along the edge of the outer lip of the large ovate aperture. The external shell ornamentation has smooth spiral ribs that end in regular blunt knobs at both the shoulder and the periphery of the body whorl. In addition, fine spiral ridges are crossed by low vertical riblets. Body color is variable from gray to orange-brown and rarely blonde, with darker brown dashes on the spiral ribs. The aperture and columella vary from deep orange to yellow or off-white. Spiral, vein-like coloration, varying from black to dark blue, occasionally occurs internally, originating at the individual teeth at the outer lip of the aperture.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

A large, predatory gastropod (Ref. 87893). The juvenile and adult stage of this species are preyed upon by loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) (Ref. 87893). Larvae are dispersed with water currents (Ref. 87977). This gastropod is a successful invader of marine coastal/brackish ecosystems , being tolerant to wide variations in temperature, salinity and oxygen concentration (Ref. 87992, 87996). Rapa whelks are generally encountered in areas to depths of 30 m in the Black Sea; on sandy bottoms at 15 m covered by Zostera sp. and Cymodocea nodosa meadows (Ref. 7956). Also occurs in rocky and muddy habitat (Ref. 87909). Feeds on bivalves (Ref. 87979). Members of the order Neogastropoda are mostly gonochoric and broadcast spawners. Life cycle: Embryos develop into planktonic trocophore larvae and later into juvenile veligers before becoming fully grown adults (Ref. 833).

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 114614)


CITES status (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans


Human uses

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Internet sources

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Estimation of some characteristics with mathematical models

Price category (Ref. 80766)