This species is widespread in the Indo-Pacific. Juveniles live in shallow areas on intertidal reef flats, while adults prefer atoll reefs along the reef crest or on reef slopes at depths of 0 to 20 m. These gastropods feed on very small plants and filamentous algae grazed on coral and rocks. Tectus niloticus can live for up to 15 years and are able to reproduce at about 2 years of age. Females release more than 1 million eggs. Breeding period occurs during spring tides with nocturnal spawning. The eggs fertilised by males hatch to larval stages. Embryos develop into free-swimming planktonic marine larvae (trocophore) and later into juvenile veligers that drift with currents before settling on a rocky surface. After 2 or more years they may become adults. The very large shells of this species have a very thick inner layer of nacre. They are commercially to make mother of pearl buttons, mother of pearl beads, pendants and so on.

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