Printer Friendly

Update of Records of Selected Prosobranch Gastropod Species Found Along the Coasts of Sindh and Balochistan, Pakistan.

Byline: Nuzhat Afsar, Ghazala Siddiqui and Zarrien Ayub


Gastropod species were examined from nine sites along the coasts of Sindh and Balochistan, Pakistan. Ten species of gastropods namely, Monodonta canalifera (Lamarck, 1801), Turbo coronatus (Gmelin, 1791), Thais carinifera (Lamarck, 1816), T. bufo (Lamarck, 1822), T. hippocastanum (Linnaeus, 1758), T. rudolphi (Lamarck, 1822), T. tissoti (Petit, 1853), Morula granulata (Duclos, 1832), Turricula javana (Linnaeus, 1767) and Babylonia spirata (Linnaeus, 1758; Swainson, 1822), belonging to two orders namely, Archaeo- and Neogastropoda and five families (Trochidae, Turbinidae, Thaidae, Turridae, and Buccinidae) were studied. The species were identified on the basis of their chonchological characteristics.

Key words: Gastropods, Arabian Sea, Pakistan.


Pakistan is located outside the tropics and its southeastern boundary is only a few miles short of Tropic of Cancer. The coastline of Pakistan is about 1050 km long, enclosing the northern Arabian Sea. This coastline is bestowed with numerous vertebrate and invertebrate fauna including several species of gastropod which inhabit the intertidal zones of sandy, rocky and muddy shores along the Sindh and Balochistan coasts. In Pakistan only cursory information is available on the taxonomy of the gastropod fauna (Melvill and Standen, 1901; Khan and Dastagir, 1970; Tirmizi and Zehra, 1982). However, Burney and Barkati (1995), Ahmed and Hameed (1999a,b), Hameed et al. (2000) and Nasreen et al. (2000) have listed the species of gastropods from various rocky shores along the coast. The goal of this paper is to describe the taxonomic characteristic of these species and the sites from where the sampling was carried out.


The specimens were brought live to the laboratory and frozen until analysed. The shell length of each specimen was measured with a vernier caliper to the nearest 0.1 mm. The shell lengths were taken from the apex to the distal end of the siphonal canal (Fig. 1). Identification of species was based on the chonchological characters. The species were identified with the help of following literature: Melvill and Abercrombie (1893), Melvill and Standen (1901), Gravely (1942), Khan and Dastagir (1970), Subrahmanyam et al. (1952), Eisenberg (1981), Ahmed (1979), Tirmizi and Zehra (1982), Bosch et al. (1995), FAO Manual (1998). The gastropods were collected from nine sites in five surveys during the period 1993 to 2008. The specimens were hand picked from all the sampling sites. On the Sindh coast, sampling was carried out at Manora Channel, Manora rocky ledge, Old Korangi Fish Harbour (OKFH), and New Korangi Fish Harbour (NKFH), Buleji, Pacha, Cape Monze, Mubarak Village.

From Balochistan the gastropod species were procured for study from Sonmiani. Description of all nine (9) collection sites (Fig. 2) is as under.

Site 1. Manora channel

Manora channel lies in south of Karachi about 8 km from center of the city. It is 8 km long and 850 to 1000 m wide. The channel receives effluents from Lyari River, Karachi Fish Harbour, and ships visiting the Karachi Port.

Site 2. Manora rocky ledge

Manora rocky ledge is located at 24 48C/ N and 66 58C/ E, south west of Karachi facing the open Arabian Sea. The rocky ledge measures about 1000-1200 meters and is directly exposed to open sea. Its high water mark and low water mark range is about 200 m of the rocky stratum. The ledge is fairly rich in molluscan fauna.

Site 3: Old Korangi Fish Harbour (OKFH)

Creek area at a distance of about 12 km from the center of Karachi city This area lies in close proximity to shipping port (Port Mohammad Bin Qasim) and is located at 24 48C/ N, 66 14C/ E in the southeast of Manora Channel.

Site 4: New Korangi Fish Harbour (NKFH)

The new Korangi Fish Harbour is situated at 24 50C/ N, 67 14C/ E in close proximity to old Korangi Fish Harbour in the Korangi Creek System. Mostly large foreign fishing vessels operate from here. The Harbour receives contaminant from the passing shipping traffic. The bottom line here is muddy and the specimens of Thais carinifera are found clinging to the jetty poles.

Site 5. Buleji

The Buleji rocky ledge is situated at 24 50' N, 66 48' E, and southwest of Karachi near fishing village of Buleji. The Buleji rocky ledge is triangular platform, which extends into the open Arabian Sea. The right flank of the ledge faces the open sea and its maximum wave action, and tends to be rich in fauna and flora. The middle and lower part of the rocky ledge are made up of rather flat rocks and small boulders. The left margin of the ledge has less wave action as compared to right one. Main body of the triangular ledge consists of small and large tide pools, which inhabit different species of gastropods and other benthic life with abundance of algal growth.

Site 6. Cape Monze

Cape Monze is located near Karachi, at an approximate distance of 35km far from Karachi at 24 50C/ N, 66 39C/ E. The rocky shore of Cape Monze is comparatively smaller to other rocky shores and is 150 m long and 40 m wide. The site is clean and small scale boating activity takes place in the nearby area.

Site 7: Pacha

Pacha is a rocky shore, about 390 m long located at 24 50C/ N, 66 43C/ E near Karachi. The exposed rocky ledge is subjected to strong wave action of the Arabian Sea. The site is clean and no boating activity takes place in this area.

Site 8: Mubarak village

It is a small fishermen village situated at 24 50' N, 66 39' E. The beach here faces the open Arabian Sea and is constituted of rocky stratum, studded with small boulders, cobbles and pebbles. The rocky shelters here at some places form, cave like structures. The very small local fishing trawlers operate from this area. No commercial large scale shipping activity takes place in this area.

Site 9: Sonmiani

The coastal town of Sonmiani lies at 25 25' N, 66 35' E in the northwest of Karachi at a distance of about 45 kilometers. The beach at Sonmiani is sandy to sandy-cum-muddy having small rocky platforms facing the strong wave action of open sea. The specimens of Thais carinifera are found in muddy substratum and also in holes and crevices of the rocky platforms. Sonmiani Fish Harbour lies in close proximity of coastal town of Sonmiani. It is about 45 kilometers in the northwest of Karachi. Small local fishing trawlers operate from the Fish Harbour.


Phylum: Mollusca

Class: Gastropoda Sub-

class: Prosobranchia Order:

Archaeogastropoda Super

family: Trochoidea

Family: Turbinidae

Genus: TURBO (Linnaeus, 1758)

Shells in Turbinidae are solid and turbinate with rounded whorls and more or less circular aperture (Subrahmanyam et al., 1952; Tirmizi and Zehra, 1982).

Turbo coronatus (Gmelin, 1791).

Synonyms: Lunella coronata (Gmelin, 1791).

Specimens examined: 956.

Size: 14-37 mm (min-max); 24 mm mean shell length.

Locality: Manora Channel and Buleji (Fig. 1).


Shells are of moderate size nearly circular, thick, domed or almost flat topped with more or less rounded body whorl. Spire of the shell is somewhat depressed with nodules. Last whorl of the shell largely and broadly expanded with heavy or light rows of nodules, aperture circular, nacreous, operculum is thick and calcareous. Inner surface like pearl luster, upper dull green, orange-yellow, brown or reddish grey (Fig. 3A). The species recovered are similar to those described by Khan and Dastagir (1970) from Karachi and Bosch et al. (1995) from coasts of Eastern Arabia.


This species is found in supra littoral zone, on boulders, rocks and sometimes in the crevices between the rocks.


Previously reported by Khan and Dastagir (1970) from Manora Island, Buleji, and G. M. Hut, from Karachi. During the present study large numbers of specimens of this species were found at Buleji and Manora Channel. Shells at Manora Channel were mostly eroded and slightly larger than those found at Buleji. There is no previous record available for comparison.

Family: Trochidae

Genus: MONODONTA (Lamarck, 1801)

Moderate size with trochiform shell and inflattened body whorl. There is usually a single strong tooth at columella and outer lip is much thickened (Khan and Dastagir, 1970).

Monodonta canalifera (Lamarck, 1801)

Specimens examined: 963.

Size: 8-30 mm (min-max); 22 mm mean shell length.

Locality: Manora Channel and Buleji (Fig. 1).


The shell is low spired with well rounded whorls, no umbilicus, smooth aperture, base of the columella has strong pointed tooth, brown or green spiral lines and dashes on shell, bright green algae often covers shell, (Khan and Dastagir, 1970) (Fig. 3B).


The species is found in supra littoral zone, on rocky platforms. In the littoral zone this species inhabits crevices or rock pools.


Earlier M. canalifera was reported by Khan and Dastagir (1970) from Buleji. During the present study this species was collected from Buleji as well as from Manora Channel. Slightly larger and older shells were present at Manora Channel as compare to Buleji.

Order: Neogastropoda

Super family: Muricoidea

Family: Thaididae

Genus: THAIS (Roding, 1798)

All the species of Thais have thick shells with a short spire. Body whorl large and canal short. Aperture wide and columella flattened, whorls variously carinated, and are found at low water mark. This genus exhibit close resembles to the description given by Subrahmanyam et al. (1952) for this genus from Bombay, India.

Thais carinifera (Lamarck, 1816).

Synonyms: Thais (Stramonita) carinifera

(Lamarck, 1816); Purpura carinifera

(Lamarck, 1816); Cuma carinifera

Specimens examined:


(Melvill and Standen, 1901); Murex lacera (Born, 1778); Thais lacera (Born 1778); Cuma disjuncta (Annandale, 1922); Cymia carinifera (Rao and Mukherjee, 1975); Thais (Cymia) carinifera (Ray, 1977).


23-70 mm (min-max); 47mm mean shell length.

Locality: Manora Channel, Cape Monze, Sonmiani, OKFH and NKFH, Mubarak Village and Sonmiani (Fig. 1).


Thick shelled. Whorls strongly shouldered or carinated. Two rows of shoulders are generally present on the body whorl. Columella is smooth, enameled, and flattened at the anterior end. Shell generally whitish, sometimes with shades of brown above and below the shoulders (Subrahmanyam et al., 1952) (Fig. 3C).


Marginally sub-tidal, commonly found on muddy to sandy beaches or sometimes on hard substrate on semi-exposed beaches of the coast. This species was also found clinging to artificial seawall and jetty pillars at OKFH and NKFH.


Ahmed (1979) reported this species from Manora Jetty at 0.45-0.7 m tidal height and Tirmizi and Zehra (1982) identified this species as Cymia sp. from unidentified location. This species has also been reported from Clifton (Ahmed and Hameed, 1999b).

Thais (Stramonita) bufo (Lamarck, 1822).

Synonyms: Purpura bufo (Melvill and Abercrombie, 1893)

Specimens examined: 185

Size: 22-66mm (min-max); 45mm mean shell length.

Locality: Manora Channel, Manora rocky ledge, Buleji.


The shell is stouter and large with a short spire, well developed body whorls. Aperture large and canaliculated anteriorly and posteriorly. The smooth area of the columella is well developed and extends posteriorly beyond the upper extremity of the outer lip which is thin and serrate. The aperture is ovate and large with an oblique channel at the anterior part. The outer surface possess nodules and the shell is orange in colour, 3-4 inches in length (Subrahmanyam et al., 1952; Khan and Dastagir, 1970) (Fig. 3D).


The species is found in the low tidal zone usually among boulders and rocks.


Also reported by Khan and Dastagir (1970) from Manora Island, Pasni, Gawadar, and Astola. Ahmed and Hameed (1999a) reported this species from Buleji and Nasreen et al. (1999) from Manora rocky ledge.

Thais rudolphi (Lamarck, 1822)

Synonym: Purpura panama (Roding, 1798)

Specimens examined: 385

Size: 30-78 mm (min-max); 48 mm mean shell length.

Locality: Manora Channel, Manora rocky ledge, Buleji, Pacha, Cape Monze, Sonmiani (Fig. 1).


Shell is large with conical apex and a large body whorl. Spiral growth lines are well developed. Strong shoulders are absent and body whorl with banded blackish and brown and white alternate bands on it. Aperture large and canaliculated both ways. Columellar margin smooth and enameled, broad and sloping or more or less straight and brownish. Outer lip is serrated and surface color is dark brown (Subrahmanyam et al., 1952) (Fig. 3E).


Shells are found abundantly attached to rocks and boulders on the rocky shores along Sindh and Balochistan coasts


Khan and Dastagir (1970) have reported this species from Manora Island, Buleji, West Wharf. This species has also been reported by Tirmizi and Zehra (1982) from Pakistan. Ahmed (1979) found this species on Keamari Seawall. Ahmed and Hameed (1999a) reported this species from Buleji and Nasreen et al. (1999) from Manora rocky ledge.

T. savignyi (Deshayes, 1844)

Synonyms: Purpura hippocastanum (Melvill and Abercrombie, 1893); Thais hippocastanum (Linnaeus, 1758).

Specimens examined: 57

Size: 20-62 mm (min-max); 40 mm mean shell length

Locality: Manora Channel, Manora rocky ledge, Cape Monze, Buleji (Fig. 1).


The shell of T. savignyi is very thick, heavy and high spired with close pyramid like tubercles on body whorl. Pointed nodules on all whorls. No umbilicus, aperture cream, inner edge dark brown, columella white with dark brown base. Semi-lunar dark brown operculum. Colour ochraceous brown from outside. The inner margin of the outer lip is purplish and 4-5 bifid teeth present inside outer lip (Subrahmanyam et al., 1952; Bosch et al., 1995) (Fig. 3F).


Found among rocks and boulders at rocky shores.


Earlier reported by Tirmizi and Zehra (1982). Shells show close resemblance with T. savignyi (Deshayes, 1844-1848). Nasreen et al. (1999) from Manora rocky ledge identified and reported as T. hippocastanum.

Thais tissoti (Petit, 1853)

Synonyms: Purpura tissoti; Thais (Stramonita) tissoti (Petit, 1852).

Specimens examined: 199

Size: 13-28 mm (min-max); 22 mm mean shell length.

Locality: Manora Channel, Buleji, Sonmiani.


A small reddish brown shell, whorls spirally ridged that assume the shape of beautiful nodes along 9 or 10 transpiral ribs. Shell high spired. (Subrahmanyam et al., 1952; Bosch et al., 1995; Tan and Sigurdsson, 1996) (Fig. 3G)).


Commonly found among rocks in the intertidal zone.


Ahmed (1979) reported this species from Keamari seawall at 0.1-0.4 m tidal height. Ahmed and Hameed (1999a) reported this species from Buleji.

Super family: Muricoidea

Family: Thaididae Genus:


Shell solid with five spiral rows and nodules on body whorl. Outer lip thick, teeth internally, more or less of same size (Bosch et al., 1995).

Morula granulata (Duclos, 1832)

Synonym: Morula (Schepnan, 1892). Specimens examined: 167

Size: 12-26 mm (min-max); 20mm mean shell length.

Locality: Manora Channel, Buleji.


Description of the shell closely resembles the characteristics described by Bosch et al. (1995). Shell is heavy, somewhat elongate and ovate or barrel shaped. Columella has 2 to 4 week folds. Outer lip with 4 or 5 strong teeth and large rounded nodules on surface of the shell. No umbilicus, grayish white with dark brown nodules. Edge of outer lip dark brown, operculum kidney shaped, teeth and columella pale (Fig. 4A).


Found under rocks in the intertidal region as well as often on exposed rocks.


Tirmizi and Zehra (1982) have illustrated the specimen up to genus only. Burney and Barkati (1995) have reported this species from Buleji rocky ledge.

Super family: Conoidea

Family: Turridae


Small shells but highly ornate, fusiform with a notch on outer lip (Khan and Dastagir, 1970).

Turricula javana (Linnaeus, 1767)

Synonyms: Murex turris (Gmelin, 1791); Pleurotoma javana (Lamarck, 1816); P. nodifera (Lamarck, 1822); P. contorta (Perry, 1811); P. spuria (Link, 1807).

Specimen examined: 1

Size: 56mm mean shell length.

Locality: Manora Channel


Shell fusiform in shape, with elevated spire.

Whorls of the shell large and a deep slit near the suture. The aperture is oval and anterior siphonal canal long and straight. Columella smooth and the outer lip detached in the hind portion from the body whorl and forms a sinus (Khan and Dastagir, 1970) (Fig. 4B).


Found among rocks and boulders in low tidal zone.


This species was reported from Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) by Khan and Dastagir (1970).

Super family: Buccinoidea

Family: Buccinidae Genus:


Small to large gastropod shells with usually short and open siphonal canal. Occasionally the color pattern of the shell is striking but usually subdued and may be hidden under the thick periostracum. Shells are more or less fusiform or ovate, with orange, brown patches on surface. Aperture oval and channeled interiorly. Columellar region smooth. Outer lip simple and thickened (Bosch et al., 1995; Subrahmanyam et al., 1952).

Species: Babylonia spirata (Linnaeus, 1758; Swainson, 1822)

Synonyms: Eburna chrysostoma (Sowerby, 1866); B. valentina (Shikama and Horikoshi, 1963).

Specimens examined: 277

Size: 34-72mm (min-max); 42 mm mean shell length.

Locality: Manora Channel, Buleji and Sonmiani.


Shell large, heavy, ovate with smooth and inflated body whorl. Last whorl inflated, protoconch pointed. Suture sunk in a broad groove or deeply channeled. Aperture wide and external border thin. Operculum semi lunar and brown in colour. Whorls white with broad patches of orange brown. Surface covered with periostracum in fresh specimens. In young ones umbilicus is open (Bosch et al., 1995; Subrahmanyam et al., 1952) (Fig. 4C).


Individuals live buried in sand and mud by the side of the rocks.


Khan and Dastagir (1970) reported this species from Bhit Island and Manora Island. Tirmizi and Zehra (1982) illustrated the genus only. Ahmed (1979) has reported this species from beach near Manora jetty at 0.0-0.3 m tidal height. During the present study individuals were collected from Manora Channel and Sonmiani.


Ten species of gastropods have been described from the only available records of provided by the Zoological Survey of Pakistan (Khan and Dastagir, 1970). No update of records is available after that. However, in the light of data collected during surveys it appears that the number of specimens of Babylonia spirata, Thais bufo, Thais savignyi and T. rudolphi have decreased markedly at Manora Channel. Prosobranch gastropod species Monodonta canalifera, Morula granulata and Turricula javana previously not investigated from Manora Channel. Common intertidal species Turbo coronatus found globally in rocky shores, also abundantly found at all rocky shores of Sindh and Balochistan coasts.


We are grateful to Dr. Michelle Kelly of National Centre for Aquatic Biodiversity and Biosecurity, Auckland, New Zealand for critical reading and review of this manuscript.


AHMED, M., 1979. The present status of marine pollution in Pakistan. Protection of marine environment. In: Proceedings of the National Regional Seminar. Protection of marine environment and related eco- system. Karachi. pp. 1-15.

AHMED, M. AND HAMEED, S., 1999a. Species diversity and biomass of marine animal communities of Buleji rocky ledge, Karachi, Pakistan. Pakistan J. Zool., 31: 81-91.

AHMED, M. AND HAMEED, S., 1999b. Animal communities of the exposed sandy beach at Clifton in Karachi (Pakistan). Pakistan J. Zool., 31: 211-217.

BURNEY, S.M.A. AND BARKATI, S., 1995. Benthic dynamics of a rocky beach macro invertebrates I. Diversity indices and biomass assessment at Buleji, Karachi (Arabian Sea). Mar. Res., 1: 53-61

BOSCH, D.T., DANCE, S.P., MOOLENBECK, R.G. AND OLIVER, P.G., 1995. Sea shells of the eastern Arabia (ed. P. Dance). Motivate Publishing, Emirates Printing Press, Dubai, UAE. pp. 1-296.

DESHAYES, G.P., 1844-1848. Exploration scientifique del' Algerie pendant les annees 1840, 1841, 1842 publie par ordre du gouvernement et avace le concours d'une commission academique. Sciences physiques. Zoologie. Histoire Naturelle Des Mollusques. Tome Premier. Mollusques Acephales. Atlas. Pp. 1-160, Pl. I- LXXVVII A [= 1-77a]. Paris. (Imprimerie Nationale)

EISENBERG, J.M., 1981. A collector's guide to sea shells of the world (eds. E. William and J. Old), McGraw-Hill, UK. pp. 1-273.

FAO, 1998. Seaweeds, corals, bivalves and Gastropods (ed. K.E. Carpenter). FAO Fish. Dept., U.S.A., 1: 1-686.

HAMEED, S., AHMED, M. AND SHAMEEL, M., 2000. An ecological study on the tidepools of the rocky ledge at Pacha, near Karachi (Pakistan). Pakistan J. mar. Biol., 2: 179-197.

KHAN, M.D. AND DASTAGIR, S.G., 1970. On the Mollusca: Gastropod fauna of Pakistan. Rec. zool. Surv. Pakistan, 1: 17-129.

MELVILL, J.C. AND ABERCROMBIE, A., 1893. The marine mollusca of Bombay. Proc. Lit. Phil. Soc., 7: 17-51.

MELVILL, J.C. AND STANDEN, R., 1901. Mollusca of Persian Gulf, Gulf of Oman and Arabian Sea as evidenced of mainly through the collections of F.W. Townsend 1893-1900. Proc. zool. Soc. London, 2: 327-459.

NASREEN, H., AHMED, M. AND HAMEED, S., 2000. Seasonal variation in biomass of marine macro invertebrates occurring on the exposed rocky ledge of Manora Island, Karachi, Pakistan. Pakistan J. Zool.,32: 343-350.

SUBRAHMANYAM. T.V., KARANDIKAR, K.R. AND MURTI, N.N., 1952. Marine gastropod of Bombay. Part II. General characters, habits and habitat of the Bombay Gastropoda. J. Univ. Bombay, 21: 26-73.

TIRMIZI, N.M. AND ZEHRA, I., 1982. Illustrated key to families of Pakistani marine molluscs. Pakistan Science Foundation. pp. 1-46.

Nuzhat Afsar, Ghazala Siddiqui and Zarrien Ayub

Center of Excellence in Marine Biology, University of Karachi, Karachi-75270, Pakistan

Present address: Lesbela University of Agriculture Water and Marine Science, Uthal, Balochistan, Corresponding Author:
COPYRIGHT 2012 Asianet-Pakistan
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2012 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Afsar, Nuzhat; Siddiqui, Ghazala; Ayub, Zarrien
Publication:Pakistan Journal of Zoology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Feb 29, 2012
Previous Article:Clams of the Families Tellinidae and Veneridae and Blood Cockle of Family Arcidae From Phitti Creek and Sonmiani Along the Coast of Pakistan...
Next Article:Efficacy of Plant Extracts on Some Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) Pests: Amrasca bigutulla bigutulla Ishida and Thrips tabaci Lindeman.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters