Articulate Harp

Class: Gastropoda

Family: Harpidae

Family Description:

Harpidae is small family, with less than 40 species, in three genera. The genus Harpa, containing the largest and most spectacularly coloured species, occurs in the Indo-West Pacific and tropical Atlantic Oceans. Members of the family live from just below low tide down to several hundred metres. It live in sand and feed on small crabs. The crabs are enveloped by the foot, and held by large quantities of mucus. Saliva containing digestive enzymes is injected into the crab, and partly digested food sucked out by the mollusc.

Genus: Harpa Röding, 1798

Species: Harpa articularis Lamarck, 1822

Species Description:

Harps are relatively large predatory molluscs that live buried beneath the sand in shallow water. They are characterised by strong radial ribbing that adds strength to the shell. They are able to shed the rear portion of their foot, like the ability of some lizards to shed their tails, this presumably distracts potential predators while the animal escapes. It is reported that Harp Shells come to the surface after dark to forage, mainly for crabs.


Harpa delicata Perry, 1811

Other Records(References):

Harpa articularis Lamarck, 1822- [Hinton (1972): 43; Hinton (1978): 45; Abbott and Dance (1982): 211; Abbott (1991): 71; Eisenberg (1986): 120; Springsteen et al. (1986): 107; Oliver (1989): 220; Hill (1996): 158; Thach (2005): 165; Robin (2008): 324].

Global Distribution:

Andaman Sea & Philippines


This taxon has not yet been assessed for the IUCN Red List.