Exhibition annotation

The family of sea mollusc murexes contains of more than 90 genus with various appearances and geographical habitat. These genus are united by one characteristic – predation. They feed on other molluscs, marine worms, crustaceans and various dead small animals.

Murexes are prevailed in the warm and tropical zones of the World Ocean, where the water temperature in winter drops not below 10-12 ° C and in summer rises no higher than 25-28 °C. Murexes live in coral reefs, on underwater rocks, rocky and sandy bottoms, even on viscous sludge. It manages to hold out on sludge, because of light weight and widely ramified shell. Murexes mostly attack their victims at night from the ambush, but some of them are hunting also at the day time. For instance, murex slithers on a mussel and while it is fearfully closed drills through its shell, injects digestive juices and then sucks out everything.

People are aware of murexes from the Age of Antiquity. On the coast of the Southern Mediterranean murexes were used for producing purple paint. Purple paint was very expensive, only wealthy people could buy it. The Ancient Phoenicians and Hebrews Hexaplex trunculus mollusc glands used for producing purple, indigo and royal purple colours. 12000 molluscs are needed in order to produce one gram of paint. It is thought that first of all people began to grow murexes under artificial conditions.

Because of its beauty and unusual shell, murexes are mentioned in the Antiquity legends. For example, the love goddess Venus used the comb Murex Pecten as a weapon against men. She pinned murexes into their hair, enchanted them and her victims would lose their mind.

In the present day murexes are highly prized by collectors. Murexes are traded and exchanged in special auctions that take place in Belgium, Netherlands and USA. Murexes have a high demand on jewellery production (earrings, pendants, necklaces).