Radulae – some Mollusc ‘Tongues’

Mollusc Radulae

The radula is equivalent to a serrated, toothed ‘tongue’ used by molluscs (except the bivalves which lack this structure) for feeding. This chitinous ribbon, resembling a flexible and renewable file, is finely toothed and capable of cutting food and scraping surfaces to obtain food.  Worn teeth are replaced as they wear. Each species has its own unique arrangement and form teeth.

Here is a selection of images of slides of mollusc radulae (‘tongues’) prepared in the 1930’s and taken from the the extensive microscope slide collection of Brighton’s Booth Museum of Natural History.


Margarella decepta [Rhipidoglossa: Trochidae] Kaknui N. Orago. New Zealand JRGBT glyc Jelly 25.4.29 Rep 10..7.40. AF Piele Collection R4692/24 600226



Strombus dentatus 10.v.38 Winckworth. Dablia in CB
23.7.39 AFP R4692/22 600229. AF Piele Collection

Radula of Strombus dentatus

See other image


Cerion uva Linn Curacas WA Evans Dahlia in CB 13.2.32 AFP R4692/20 600228. AF Piele Collection


Phasianella aethiopica Mombasa reef JRLBT Dahlia in CB 5.1.31 AFP R4692/14 600223. AF Piele Collection


Matra mariae Mitridae Port Blair iii.36 Winckworth Dahlia in CB 4.9.36 AFP R4692/13 600221. AF Piele Collection


Radula spine of a species of Conus, barbed and grooved, designed to embed in its victim’s flesh and deliver a fatal dose of paralyzing poison.
Conus aulicus Mahé Seychelles, xi.36 (x) Winckworth GLJ 9.2.37 AFF R4692/18 600231. AF Piele Collection

Unidentified radula in polarised light.

Unidentified radula in polarised light.

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Unless otherwise stated all images are Copyright of Gerald Legg, naturaimaging. If you would like to use any images, then high resolution ones can be obtained by contacting me.
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