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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Apertural view of the shell of Venus Comb Murex, Murex pectens.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
(unranked): clade Caenogastropoda
clade Hypsogastropoda
clade Neogastropoda
Superfamily: Muricoidea
Family: Muricidae
Subfamily: Muricinae
Genus: Murex
Linnaeus, 1758

See text.

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

The common name "murex" is also used for a large number of species in the family Muricidae, most of which in the past were originally given the Latin generic name Murex, but most of which have now been grouped in other newer genera.

The word murex was used by Aristotle in reference to these kinds of snails, thus Murex is arguably one of the oldest classical shell names still in use by the scientific community.



Murex is an Indo-Pacific genus, as demonstrated by Ponder & Vokes (1988). The species from the western Atlantic, which were formerly considered as 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

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 and the Hexaplex trunculus.

This dye was used in royal robes, other kinds of special ceremonial or ritual garments, or garments indicating high rank. It 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.[1]


Species within the genus Murex include:

  • Murex hoplites
  • Murex radula
  • Murex acanthostephes
  • Murex aduncospinosus : Short-spined murex
  • Murex africanus
  • Murex alocatus
  • Murex altispira : Caltrop murex
  • Murex antillarum : Antilles murex
  • Murex brevispina : Short-spined murex
  • Murex brevispina brevispina
  • Murex brevispina macgillivrayi
  • Murex brevispina ornamentalis
  • Murex carbonnieri : Carbonnier's murex
  • Murex concinnus
  • Murex coppingeri
  • Murex djarianensis
  • Murex djarianensis poppei
  • Murex falsitribulus
  • Murex forskoehlii
  • Murex hystricosus
  • Murex kerslakai
  • Murex megapex
  • Murex occa : Harrowed murex
  • Murex pecten: Venus comb murex
  • Murex pecten soelae
  • Murex philippinensis
  • Murex pulcher : Beautiful West Indian murex
  • Murex queenslandicus
  • Murex salomonensis
  • Murex scolopax : False venus comb, woodcock murex
  • Murex serratospinosus
  • Murex singaporensis
  • Murex somalicus
  • Murex spectabilis
  • Murex spicatus
  • Murex surinamensis
  • Murex trapa : Rare-spined murex
  • Murex tribulus : Caltrop murex
  • Murex tribulus spicatus
  • Murex tribulus tenuirostrum
  • Murex tribulus tenuirostrum africanus
  • Murex tribulus ternispina
  • Murex troscheli : Troschel's murex
  • Murex antelmei


  • Ponder, W.F. & E.H. Vokes. 1988. A revision of the Indo-West Pacific fossil and Recent species of Murex s.s. and Haustellum (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Muricidae). Records of the Australian Museum, Supplement 8. 160 pp.

External links



Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Murex brandaris


Latin murex

Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:



  1. (zoology) A taxonomic genus, within subfamily Muricinae - the murex gastropods once used to produce Tyrian purple.
Wikispecies has information on:


See also

  • See Wikipedia for species


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Protostomia
Cladus: Spiralia
Cladus: Lophotrochozoa
Phylum: Mollusca
Classis: Gastropoda
Subclassis: Orthogastropoda
Superordo: Caenogastropoda
Ordo: Sorbeoconcha
Subordo: Hypsogastropoda
Infraordo: Neogastropoda
Superfamilia: Muricoidea
Familia: Muricidae
Subfamilia: Muricinae
Genus: Murex


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