Marine snails - Muricidae, Murex 2, 1

Below is Zambo's murex, Homalocantha zamboi, found in the Red Sea.

Zambo's murex, Homalocantha zamboi, marine snail

Below is the Giant hairy melongena, Pugilina morio, also known as Murex morio and Semifusus morio. It is found in the Atlantic around Brazil, Angola, the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Gabon, Mauritania, in the Caribbean Sea, and around the Lesser Antilles. It is found down to 30 m deep in mud and other soft surfaces in mangrove swamps and river estuaries. It feeds mainly on carrion.

Adult size ranges from 7.5 - 27.0 cm. In traditional Brazilian medicine it is used in the treatment of sexual impotence.

Giant Hairy Melongena, Pugilina morio

Below is the Alabaster murex, Siratus alabaster, found in the western Indo-Pacific region.

Alabaster murex, Siratus alabaster, marine snail shell

Below is Murex brandaris, also known as Bolinus brandaris, the Purple dye murex, or the Spiny dye murex, which can be found in the central and western Mediterranean. It is predatory on bivalves, cannibalistic and edible. The shell colour ranges from brown through gold to beige. It was used to produce a purple dye called Tyrian purple originally around Tyre. The dye is secreted as a milky mucous which changes to purple. It was captive bred for dye making as early as the Minoan period, and written references go back as far as 1600 BC. Dye production decreased with the fall of the Roman Empire, and ceased altogether with the fall of Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1453.

To make purple dye the shells are broken, and along with the snail body and salt were placed in vats hollowed out of rock. After a few days the liquid turned purple. This liquid was then concentrated to make the finished dye by simmering over a fire.

Murex brandaris