Green ormer (Haliotis tuberculata)

NBN Interactive13-02-2007

Map accurate at time of writing. Visit NBN or OBIS to view current distribution

Researched byPenny Avant Refereed byAdmin
AuthorityLinnaeus, 1758
Other common names- Synonyms-



Haliotis tuberculata has a flattened, oval, 'ear-shaped' shell, up to 9 cm long and 6.5 cm broad, that is slightly coiled. The outer surface is greenish-brown to red and often mottled. The inner surface is lined with iridescent mother of pearl. A row of round, slightly raised holes runs along the bottom margin of the shell. The outer, larger, 5-7 of these are open while the remainder are closed. The foot is large and muscular.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Found in the Channel Isles but absent from the coasts of Britain and Ireland.

Global distribution

Found on the coast of Brittany, and south to the Mediterranean, Azores and Canary Islands.


Found on rocky shores, from MLW to depths of about 40 m, commonly feeding on rocks covered with encrusting red algae.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • A flattened, asymmetric ear-shaped shell, up to 9 cm long, 6.5 cm broad and 2 cm high with a low spire and a flattened whorl at one end.
  • Outer surface is finely lined and mottled greenish-brown to red in colour.
  • Inner surface lined with mother of pearl.
  • There is a series of small raised holes along the margin of the shell. The outer 5-7 of these are large and form openings in the shell, while the remainder are closed.

Additional information


Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

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  1. Fish, J.D. & Fish, S., 1996. A student's guide to the seashore. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  2. Graham, A., 1988. Molluscs: prosobranchs and pyramellid gastropods (2nd ed.). Leiden: E.J. Brill/Dr W. Backhuys. [Synopses of the British Fauna No. 2]

  3. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. (ed.) 1995b. Handbook of the marine fauna of North-West Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  4. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E. (ed.), 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  5. Mgaya, Y.D., 1995. Synopsis of biological data on the European abalone (ormer) Haliotis tuberculata Linnaeus, 1758 (Gastropoda: Haliotidae). FAO Fisheries Synopsis no. 156


This review can be cited as:

Avant, P. 2007. Haliotis tuberculata Green ormer. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Available from:

Last Updated: 13/02/2007