Carinaria galea

Carinaria galea Benson, 1835c


This is a very large shelled pelagic snail, up to 5 cm long, with an almost completely transparent body(Carinaria galea). The body can never withdraw into the shell. The shell is high conical with a high keel. Only the broad triangular visceral nucleus is darkly pigmented. The large eyes, with black retina, and the mouth organs are clearly seen. The intestine is frequently full and visible. The body is long and cylindrical with one swimming fin. It hunts large prey such as fish, shelled pteropods and other heteropods. It lives in upper layers of the warm waters of the Indo-Pacific Ocean (Carinaria galea 2).

Taxonomic Description

This is an elegant slender animal with high shells and a high keel. The relatively small body has a relatively thin cutis with few number of large tubercles. The tail crest is depressed and forms only a small rim. The eyes are dark, less broad based than in lamarcki but the retinal windows are much smaller. Tentacles are asymmetrical. The visceral nucleus is high, not triangular. The number of gills is small, about 6. The round fin has a sucker in both sexes. The elevated shell shows a very high keel, as high as half the aperture diameter (Carinaria galea shell, Carinaria galea 1). The shell is less strongly curved backwards than in Carinaria lamarcki. Embryonic shell, with 3.5 whorls, is less elevated than in Carinaria cristata and slightly inclined. The Carinaria galea radula formula is 2-1-1-1-2, the Carinaria galea median teeth are tricuspoid.
Body length up to 50 mm.


The Carinaria galea young has a small, dextrally coiled shell without a keel. The protoconch (Carinaria galea protoconch, Carinaria galea protoconch I) is covered with dense dots and (Carinaria galea protoc 2, Carinaria galea protoconch) shows two spiral lines and numerous transverse lines.


In this species the sexes are separate.


This species is carnivorous and epipelagic.


This species is endemic to the Indo-Pacific Ocean and it shares its distribution pattern with Carinaria cristata. A much greater population is found only in the Tasman Sea, see the Carinaria galea map.


Carinaria galea Benson, 1835c: 216.
Type locality: 40°30'S-4°30'N, 87°30'E-90°30'W. Coll.: Benson.