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Common Ear Shell or Abalone
Haliotis rubra


Photo of the Common Ear Shell or AbaloneShell large, flat, and oval with a greatly enlarged body whorl. Sculptured with weak growth ridges, over irregular oblique radiating folds. Around the edge there are a row of conical tubercles, with 6 or 7 open for respiration.

Between the tubercles and the outer edge is a concave region. Inside the shell are oblique wrinkles.


Shell colour reddish-brown, with narrow, curved, radiating light green streaks. Inside the shell is brilliantly iridescent.








100-125 mm in length


Distribution map of the Common Ear Shell or AbaloneNorthern New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia to southern Western Australia.


Occurs at and below low tide on rocky shores. Abalone are found under rocks, in crevices, in caves or on vertical rock faces.


This is the edible black-lip abalone. It often occurs in clusters. It is now believed that there is a species complex, or cline of forms, ranging across southern Australia. In south-eastern Australia the form is called Haliotis rubra, while the south-western form is called Haliotis conicopora.

Also known as Black-lip Abalone, Red Ear Shell, Knotted Ear Shell Haliotis ruber, Notohaliotis ruber, and Haliotis improbulum


Bennett, I. (1987) W.J. Dakin's classic study: Australian Seashores. p.182, Angus & Robertson, Sydney.

Davey, K. (1998) A Photographic Guide to Seashore Life of Australia. p.74, New Holland, Sydney.

Edgar, G.J. (1997) Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. p.227, Reed Books, Kew.

Marine Research Group of Victoria (1984) Coastal Invertebrates of Victoria: an atlas of selected species. p.24, Museum of Victoria, Melbourne.

Macpherson, J.H. & Gabriel, C.J. (1962) Marine Molluscs of Victoria. p.29, Melbourne University Press & The National Museum of Victoria.

Shepherd, S.A. & Thomas, I.M. (1982) Marine Invertebrates of Victoria, Pt. 2. p.539, South Australian Government Printer, Adelaide.

Wilson, B.R. & Gillett, K. (1979) A field guide to Australian Shells: Prosobranch Gastropods. p.23, A.H. & A.W. Reed, Sydney.

Ear Shells &
False Ear Shells

Common Abalone

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photo of Keith DaveyLife on Australian Seashores
by Keith Davey (C) 2000

Learning Consultant - Media
The University of Newcastle

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Scientific Consultant: Phil Colman
site created 01.01.98 : updated 01.04.2000