SHELL OF THE MONTH – NOVEMBER 2011

Conus bengalensis, Okutani,1968
“The Bengal Cone”
trawled by fisherman 100m
muddy sand bottom with rubble
Andaman Sea, off Phuket, Thailand 2010
One has to wonder where this shell was hiding for so long as it was not known until 1968. The Bengal Cone is a member of the group of textile cones, which many consider the most beautiful of all shells. It is very similar to Conus gloriamaris and possibly confused. It is large, elongate, glossy and of course tented. There are two populations of Conus bengalensis. The first is from its namesake location, India’s Bay of Bengal. The other is from the Andaman Sea off the coast of Thailand. The Andaman Sea populations tend to have an elongated tapering spire giving the shell an elegant appearance. Our shell of the month is just such a specimen. The India populations commonly have a compressed spire and sometimes slightly concave sides. As with most large cone shells, growth comes in spurts resulting in growth lines running the length of the shell. Looking closely at this specimen one can see where where growth stopped and started. Many specimens have ugly scars where breaks in the shell has healed, not this one. Our specimen is about 93mm is length making it average in size, fully adult and with a mature thick lip. It would sell for $50-70 at retail. Larger specimens can easily bring double the price.

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