Murex - Muricidae
Muricids (Muricidae Rafinesque, 1815) are a family of gastropod molluscs of the subclass Caenogastropoda. They are the only family in the superfamily Muricoidea Rafinesque, 1815. They were appreciated since ancient times by the Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans because they extracted purple to dye fabrics red. Muricidi Muricidae murex snails conchiglia intotheblue.it
All muricids have a horny operculum and a sturdy, strong foot. This family appears in Aptian (Cretaceous) fossils.
They can pierce the shell of other molluscs through the abrasive action of the radula combined with the secretion of particular enzymes which are able to dissolve their hard calcareous coating. In addition to molluscs, they feed on worms, crustaceans and sponges.
Distribution and habitat
The family includes about a thousand species distributed in both tropical and temperate regions.
The family consists of twelve subfamilies and over 200 genera.
Most muricid species are carnivores, active predators that feed on other gastropods, bivalves, and barnacles. Access to the soft parts of the prey is typically achieved by piercing a hole through the shell by a softening secretion and the scraping action of the radula. Due to their carnivorous character, some species may be considered pests because they can cause considerable destruction both in exploited natural bivalve beds and in commercially farmed bivalve areas.
Muricids lay their eggs in protective, horny capsules, the size and shape of which vary according to the species. From these capsules the crawling juveniles hatch, or more rarely the planktonic larvae.