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Octopus, squid, snails and other molluscs

Molluscs can be found in marine, terrestrial and freshwater environments. 99% of Australian freshwater molluscs are endemic to their region, meaning they are found nowhere else on Earth.

Malacology, the study of molluscs, include chitons, clams, mussels, snails, sea slugs, tusk shells, octopus, and squid. Although extremely diverse, molluscs have some common characteristics such as a soft, unsegmented body, a muscular foot or tentacles and a mantle that can secrete a shell. Snails and slugs comprise about 70% of all mollusc species.

Most molluscs with shells produce a highly valuable and shiny object: the pearl. The most desirable pearls are natural pearls, which are formed when a small, foreign object gets stuck inside an oyster.

Discover more of the incredible variety of molluscs in the Australian Museum collection factsheets.


Mollusc factsheets

63 Fact Sheets in this section