The distribution of this species is restricted to Southeast Asia, from Burma, Thailand and Malaysia, to the South China Sea and the Philippines. This large sea snail is known to live in littoral and shallow sublittoral zones. It usually dwells in muddy bottoms at a maximum depth of nearly 20 m.

Melo melo is known to be carnivorous, as laboratory experiments have shown. It is a specialized predator of other continental shelf predatory gastropods, notably Hemifusus tuba and Babylonia lutosa. It is also a known predator of the dog conch, Strombus canarium.

The maximum shell length of this species is up to 275 mm, commonly to 175 mm. This volute is known to produce pearls, however the Melo melo pearl has no nacre, unlike the pearl of a pearl oyster.

This volute is often collected for food by local fishermen. The shells are often used as decoration as well, or as scoops for powdery substances in local markets.

The shell is also traditionally utilized by the native fishermen to bail out their boats, therefore it is commonly called “bailer shell”.

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