Naticarius stercusmuscarum (Gmelin, 1791), Gmelin, 1791

Huelsken, Thomas, Marek, Carina, Schreiber, Stefan, Schmidt, Iris & Mann, Michael Holl-, 2008, The Naticidae (Mollusca: Gastropoda) of Giglio Island (Tuscany, Italy): Shell characters, live animals, and a molecular analysis of egg masses, Zootaxa 1770, pp. 1-40: 19-21

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.182119

persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Naticarius stercusmuscarum (Gmelin, 1791)


Naticarius stercusmuscarum (Gmelin, 1791)   — Figs. 5 A View FIGURE 5 , B

+ Natica canrena sensu   auct. non Linnaeus, 1767. Sabelli et al. (1990), p. 170

+ Nerita punctata Karsten, 1789   [non punctata Müller, O.F., 1776   ]. Sabelli et al. (1990), p. 170

Nerita stercusmuscarum Gmelin, J.F. 1791   . Tomus 1, pars VI, Vermes testacea. Lipsiae. in: Editio decima tertia, reformata, cura J.F. Gmelin (Ed.), Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonomis, locis. G. E. Beer, p. 3673.

+ Natica punctata (Karsten, 1789)   . Hidalgo (1917), p. 490

+ Natica millepunctata Lamarck, 1822   . Weinkauff (1867), pp. 242–245; Kobelt (1901), Vol II, p. 74, pl. 51, figs. 1–9

+ Nacca punctata Risso, 1826   . Sabelli et al. (1990), p. 170

+ Natica sanguinolenta Brusina, 1865   [non sanguinolenta Deshayes, 1839   ]. Sabelli et al. (1990), p. 170

+ Natica (Naticarius) punctata   (Chemnitz in Karsten, 1789). Settepassi (1972), p. 24, pls. 3, 4; Villa (1986 b), pp. 134– 136

+ Naticarius punctatus   (Chemnitz in Karsten, 1789). Sabelli & Spada (1980), pp. 1, 3, pl. 3, fig. 1; Schirò (1978 b), p. 4, fig. 2 (first row); p. 5 fig. 1; Poppe & Goto (1991), pp. 119–120, pl. 16, figs. 21–23, Terreni (1981), p. 31

Naticarius stercusmuscarum (Gmelin, 1791)   . Nordsieck (1982), p. 186, pl. 57, fig. 63.10; Riedel (1983), p. 288, pl. 98

+ Naticarius millepunctatus (Lamarck, 1822)   . Barash & Danin (1992), p. 107, fig. 114

Natica (Naticarius) stercusmuscarum (Gmelin, 1791)   . Demir (2002), p. 110, Gelatolo (2004), TOPIC _ID= 4259, [shell was found at the beach of Isola del Giglio: listed as form „ pocopunctatus “]


Shell, apex, operculum and umbilical area similar to N. hebraeus   ; generally smaller in size, with a slightly more elevated spire.

Size: Up to 54.1 mm m.o.d. (off Isole Egadi, Sicily, Italy; MHC#030511.23). Specimens (n = 23) from Giglio Island: 12.2–29.8 mm (mean: 18.6 ± 1.0 mm) height; 13.0– 30.5 mm (mean: 19.6 ± 1.0 mm) width. Ratio [h/ w] = 0.95 ± 0.006. Aperture approximately 82 % of shell height.

General shape: Globose with slightly elevated spire, large body whorl, relatively thin-shelled for its size, 4.25 convex, slightly tabulated whorls, adpressed at sutures [teleoconch: 3.5]. Sculpture: Same as N. hebraeus   .

Shell color: Distinct perfectly rounded dots distributed regularly on whitish, cream or yellowish shell; a distinctive sparsely dotted color form known only from Giglio Island has less dots distributed irregulary over yellowish shell, sparing an uncolored band underneath the suture.

Protoconch: Uncolored, one embryonal whorls.

Aperture & outer lip: Aperture half moon-shaped, oblique, angled anteriorly, base rounded, thickened; external lip simple, sharp. Fairly thick parietal callus, covering 1 / 4 to 1 / 3 of inner lip.

Umbilical area: Same as N. hebraeus   .

Operculum: Same as N. hebraeus   .

Animal: Mesopodium and propodium surround shell to same width during crawling; only lower fringe of shell covered by mesopodium, tentacles whitish grey. Mesopodium of sparsely dotted color form has thin whitish lines while typical form shows distinct white dots ( Figs. 5 A View FIGURE 5 /B); fringe of mesopodium of typical form shows distinct white line which is absent in sparsely dotted form; color patterns of propodium and tentacles identical in both forms (whitish-grey).

Differential diagnosis: N. stercusmusarum   is most easily distinguished from N. hebraeus   by the distinct color pattern of the animal, but also of the shell. N. hebraeus   has dark tentacles, and a dark foot with radial, irregularly, whitish to cream-colored, distributed lines, while N. stercusmuscarum   has lightly colored tentacles and a dark foot showing distinct whitish to cream-colored dots of different size distributed irregularly across its surface. On the shell, N. hebraeus   has irregularly arranged, blurred, brownish dots that have a tendency to coalesce into bands and/or larger blotches, while N. stercusmuscarum   has distinct, brownish, well-separated dots distributed regularly over its shell. Average ratios of height to width of 58 shells of N. hebraeus   is 1.01 ± 0.005 (SEM), and 0.95 ± 0.006 (SEM) for 23 shells of N. stercusmuscarum   . The difference is significant in a non-parametric two-tailed t-test including 23 pairs (p-value <0.0001). However, despite the statistical significance of the differences in ratio of width to height, individual specimens from Giglio Island cannot be identified unambiguously based on size alone, due to the overlapping size distribution.

The sparsely dotted form of N. stercusmuscarum   has significantly fewer dots than the typical form. The dots are not as regularly spaced as in the typical form, and may touch each other to form short streaks. The mesopodium of the sparsely dotted form has thin, short, whitish lines while that of the typical N. stercusmuscarum   has distinct dots; color patterns of the propodium and tentacles are indistinguishable. A distinct white fringe which surrounds the mesopodium of the typical N. stercusmuscarum   is absent in the sparsely dotted form. Molecular comparison between these two color forms of N. stercusmuscarum   was complicated by the fact that only tissue of one partly decomposed specimen of the sparsly dotted form of N. stercusmuscarum   was available. The data obtained from that tissue did not show differences in a partial 18 S rRNA gene (ca. 350 bp). However, the analyzed fragment lies in a well conserved region of the 18 S gene and may not be sufficiently informative to differentiate closely related species. A specimen of the sparsely dotted form of N. stercusmuscarum   observed in an aquarium fed exclusively on other naticids and ignored Venus mussels, even when starved for several days. None of several specimens of the typical form of N. stercusmuscarum   showed such a behavior. Additional molecular analysis will have to be performed to verify that the sparsely dotted form is indeed a distinct species.

Geographical distribution

Giglio Island: Campese Bay (1), P. del Faraglione (2), Cala dell ´Allume (4), Pt. del Morto, (6). The sparsely dotted form of N. stercusmuscarum   was found exclusively in the Bay of Campese ( Figure 4 View FIGURE 4 ). General distribution: Contrary to many publications ( Hidalgo 1917, Settepassi 1972, Schirò 1977), this species is probably strictly Mediterranean, widespread from the Strait of Gibraltar to the Aegean Sea with reports from the Sea of Marmara and from the Black Sea (Demir 2002).














Naticarius stercusmuscarum (Gmelin, 1791)

Huelsken, Thomas, Marek, Carina, Schreiber, Stefan, Schmidt, Iris & Mann, Michael Holl- 2008

Natica sanguinolenta

Brusina 1865


Deshayes 1839

Nacca punctata

Risso 1826

Naticarius millepunctatus

Lamarck 1822

Naticarius stercusmuscarum

Gmelin 1791