Girish Mahajan (Editor)


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Kingdom  Animalia
Superfamily  Muricoidea
Subfamily  Muricinae
Higher classification  Muricidae
Phylum  Mollusca
Family  Muricidae
Scientific name  Murex
Rank  genus
Murex httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu

Lower classifications  Venus comb murex, Murex trapa

Murex is a genus of medium to large sized predatory tropical sea snails. These are carnivorous marine gastropod molluscs in the family Muricidae, commonly called "murexes" or "rock snails".


Murex Murex troscheli Wikiwand

The common name murex is still used for a large number of species in the family Muricidae which were originally given the Latin generic name Murex in the past, but have more recently been regrouped into different newer genera.

Murex Murex Murex trapa

The word murex was used by Aristotle in reference to these kinds of snails, thus making it one of the oldest classical seashell names still in use by the scientific community.

Murex Murex Murex aduncospinosus

Sasaran shoal spiny murex sea shell

Fossil records

Murex Murex Murex ternispina

This genus is known in the fossil records from the Cretaceous to the Quaternary (age range: from 125.45 to 0.0 million years ago). Fossils of species within this genus have been found all over the world. There are about 25 extinct species.


Murex Murex Murex pecten pecten

Murex is solely an Indo-Pacific genus, as demonstrated by Ponder & Vokes (1988). The species from the western Atlantic that were formerly considered to belong in the genus Murex are now placed in the genus Haustellum.


Most Murex species live in the intertidal or shallow subtidal zone, among rocks and corals.

Shell description

Murex FileMurex carbonnieri 01JPG Wikimedia Commons

This genus includes many showy members, their elongate shells highly sculptured with spines or fronds. The inner surfaces of their ornate shells are often brightly colored.

Human use

Costly and labor-intensive dyes Tyrian purple (or royal purple) and tekhelet were historically made by the ancient Phoenicians using mucus from the hypobranchial gland of two species commonly referred to as "murex", Murex brandaris and Murex trunculus, which are the older names for Haustellum brandaris (Bolinus brandaris) and the Hexaplex trunculus (Phyllonatus trunculus). This dye is a rare animal-produced organobromine compound, which the snails make using a specific bromoperoxidase enzyme that operates on dissolved bromide in sea water.

This dye was used in royal robes, other kinds of special ceremonial or ritual garments, or garments indicating high rank. It is hypothesised that the dye was the same dye as that which featured prominently in the ancient Temple in Jerusalem, the clothing of the High Priest (or Kohen Gadol) officiating there; it is sometimes still used by Jews today in the ritual fringes (tzitzit) on four-cornered garments. A consensus has yet to be reached regarding the Biblical source of the "blue" dye.


The genus Murex, as originally defined by Linnaeus, encompassed many taxa that are now placed elsewhere in the superfamily Muricoidea. During the 19th century, the definition of Murex was restricted by Lamarck and his contemporaries first to species in the family Muricidae, and then was limited even further to the subfamilies Muricinae and Ocenebrinae. Malacologists of the 19th century including Kiener, Reeve, Küster & Kobelt and Sowerby treated all muricoid forms as belonging to Murex. This is the main reason why Murex has so many Synonyms.

The World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS), lists the following species and subspecies with accepted names within the genus Murex.

Species mentioned as species in current use in the Indo-Pacific Molluscan Database (OBIS) 
  • Murex singaporensis A.Adams, 1853
  • Species brought into synonymy 
  • Murex aedonius Watson, 1896: synonym of Coralliophila aedonia (Watson, 1885)
  • Murex afer Gmelin, 1791: synonym of Afer afer (Gmelin, 1791)
  • Murex alocatus: synonym of Pterymarchia barclayana (H. Adams, 1873)
  • Murex antillarum : Antilles murex: synonym of Siratus articulatus (Reeve, 1845)
  • Murex argo Clench & Farfante, 1945: synonym of Chicoreus (Triplex) spectrum (Reeve, 1846)
  • Murex bellus Reeve, 1845: synonym of Vokesimurex bellus (Reeve, 1845)
  • Murex brandaris Linnaeus, 1758: synonym of Bolinus brandaris (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Murex canaliculatus Linnaeus, 1758: synonym of Busycotypus canaliculatus (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Murex capitellum Linnaeus, 1758: synonym of Vasum capitellum (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Murex corallinus Scacchi, 1836: synonym of Ocinebrina aciculata (Lamarck, 1822)
  • Murex corneus Linnaeus, 1758: synonym of Euthria cornea (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Murex coronatus Born, 1778: synonym of Pseudovertagus aluco (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Murex edwardsii: synonym of Ocinebrina edwardsii (Payraudeau, 1826)
  • Murex garciai Petuch, 1987: synonym of Vokesimurex garciai (Petuch, 1987)
  • Murex gubbi Reeve, 1849: synonym of Chicocenebra gubbi (Reeve, 1849)
  • Murex inconspicuus G.B. Sowerby II, 1841: synonym of Ocinebrina aciculata (Lamarck, 1822)
  • Murex intertextus Helbling, 1779: synonym of Cumia reticulata
  • Murex jickelii Tapparone Canefri, 1875: synonym of Naquetia jickelii (Tapparone Canefri, 1875)
  • Murex lindajoycae Petuch, 1987: synonym of Vokesimurex lindajoycae (Petuch, 1987)
  • Murex maroccensis Gmelin, 1791: synonym of Fusinus maroccensis
  • Murex monodon Sowerby, 1825: synonym of Chicoreus (Chicoreus) cornucervi (Röding, 1798)
  • Murex nassa Gmelin, 1791: synonym of Leucozonia nassa (Gmelin, 1791)
  • Murex peritus Hinds, 1844a: synonym of Favartia (Favartia) perita (Hinds, 1844)
  • Murex pistacia Reeve, 1845: synonym of Ocinebrina aciculata (Lamarck, 1822)
  • Murex purpuroides Dunker: synonym of Vaughtia purpuroides (Reeve, 1845)
  • Murex recurvirostris: synonym of Vokesimurex recurvirostrum (Broderip, 1833)
  • Murex rota Sowerby: synonym of Homalocantha anatomica (Perry, 1811)
  • Murex rubidus: synonym of Vokesimurex rubidus (F.C. Baker, 1897)
  • Murex serratospinosus Dunker, 1883: synonym of Vokesimurex mindanaoensis (G.B. Sowerby II, 1841)
  • Murex subaciculatus Locard, 1886: synonym of Ocinebrina aciculata (Lamarck, 1822)
  • Murex taxus Dillwyn, 1817: synonym of Clavatula taxea (Röding, 1798)
  • Murex textilis Brocchi, 1814: synonym of † Rimosodaphnella textilis (Brocchi, 1814)
  • Murex triqueter: synonym of Naquetia triqueter (Born, 1778)
  • Murex tulipa Linnaeus, 1758: synonym of Fasciolaria tulipa (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Murex turbinellus Linnaeus, 1758: synonym of Vasum turbinellus (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Murex vittatus Broderip, 1833: synonym of Favartia (Favartia) vittata (Broderip, 1833)

  • References

    Murex Wikipedia