Ostrich foot

Creature of the week
The Ostrich Foot shell
Struthiolaria papulosa
Te reo = totorere
75 mm
The Ostrich foot – Struthiolaria papulosa
This large snail is special to New Zealand. Elegantly turret shaped with nodules on its shoulders, and
with vertical brown striations on a white background. A large fleshy tongue helps it dig into the sand.
Specialised feeding tubes include an ‘inflatable’ trunk which draws in the water that will be filtered in the
gills. Another smaller tube ejects the waste water. Various channels lined with cilia “rowing hairs” carry the
food to the mouth.
A filter feeder.
Sucking in plankton and
other deposits on the sea
As buried in the sand
Fig. 182 page 491
The ostrich foot snails live in the intertidal and shallow subtidal, zones where they bury in sand or
mud They may be recognised in their feeding position by a mound accompanied by two holes, for water
inflow and outflow. The inlet hole is made by the feeding proboscis (trunk) and the outflow hole is formed
by a single tentacle which protrudes through the hole to make contact with the surface. The holes are lined
with mucous to strengthen the sand.
Sexes are separate and fertilisation is internal, the female has brood pouches in the mantle cavity
where young develop, to be released into the plankton as several hundred free-swimming larvae.
Morton and Millar “The N.Z.Sea Shore” Fig 182 and some comments.
Sand photographs – David Gray at Long Bay for Sir Peter Blake MERC