An initiative of Earthwatch Institute

  1. Military1_steve_smith Up to 100mm in length by S Smith
  2. Turbo_militaris_-_john_turnbull_-_flickr_cc Turbo militaris - John Turnbull - Flickr CC

Military Turban

Turbo (Dinassovica) militaris


  • Large solid marine snail (mollusc) with noticeable rounded spirals (whorls);
  • Generally smooth but some individuals show two strongly developed rows of spines on the body; 
  • Brown or dark green striped patterns on a lighter green/ fawn background.
  • Size: Up to 100 mm in length.

What to Observe

Search area for 30 minutes and record under the following categories-

  • Abundant - found easily with little searching
  • Frequent - found with minimal searching
  • Rare - only 1 or 2 individuals found with intensive searching
  • Not found - not present during search

ClimateWatch Science Advisor

As a result of climate change, warm tropical ocean currents are expected to strengthen and persist for longer periods in southern coastal area normally dominated by cooler waters. The consequent increases in water temperature are likely to result in unfavourable growing conditions for cool water mollusc species.

When To Look

Throughout the year.

Where To Look

  • Common on rocky shores particularly in exposed areas and rock pools. 
  • Shells often wash up on beaches
 Military Turban distribution map - GBIF

Military Turban distribution map - GBIF



Williams, S.T. (2007). Origins and diversification of Indo-West Pacific marine fauna: evolutionary history and biogeography of turban shells (Gastropoda, Turbinidae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2007, 92, 573–592.

Alf A. & Kreipl K. (2011) The family Turbinidae. Subfamily Turbinidae, Genus Turbo. Errata, corrections and new information on the genera Lunella, Modelia and Turbo (vol. I). In: G.T. Poppe & K. Groh (eds), A Conchological Iconography. Hackenheim: Conchbooks. Pp. 69-72, pls 96-103.



  1. Search Species

  1. What Else?

    The military turban is difficult to confuse with any other mollusc because of its larger size, green to brown pattern and white operculum. 

  1. Did You Know?

    The military turban is prized bait for fisherman and can be locally fished out in some areas.

    There is a commercial fishery for military turbans for human consumption.