SHELL OF THE MONTH – FEBRUARY 2012

The cowries have always been a collectors favorite. No other family of shells comes close in popularity. It is no wonder since they are shiny, colorful, elegantly shaped, and come in a myriad variety of colors and patterns. The French call them by the beautiful name, porcellaines. The cowries are true works of art.

The cypraea are dwellers of the tropical seas (with some exception) with the largest concentration and variety of species in the Philippine islands. Most are nocturnal and are reef dwellers. Their mantle envelops the shell thus preserving the glossy surface. The color pattern varies and may be mottled, blotched, spotted, freckled, banded, striped, ringed, or various combinations or even solid. In size they range from several millimeters to our own giant Cypraea cervus that can grow up to six inches.

Twenty-four different specie of the smaller sized cypraea are included as our February Shell of the Month. Although this selection is intended as an introduction of the collecting of cowries, the is plenty here to interest even the more advanced collector such as the giant Cypraea spurca from Turkey and the unusual blue Cypraea robertsi from Ecuador. How many of our members posses a shell collected in Turkey? Anyone? The rarest shell in this collection is the very difficult to obtain Cypraea vrendenburgi that comes only from Indonesia.

All the shells come with complete data. They are donated by shell club member Richard Kent

Cypraea acicularis, Gmelin 1791, Brasil

Cypraea asellus, Linne 1758, Philippines

Cypraea arabicula, Lamarck 1810, Panama

Cypraea bovinii, Kiener 1843, Indonesia

Cypraea chinesis, Gmelin 1791, Philippines

Cypraea diluculum, Reeve 1845, Zanzibar

Cypraea erosa, Linne 1758, Micronesia

Cypraea gracilus, Gaskoin 1849, Okinawa

Cypraea helovla argella, Melvill 1889, Tanzania

Cypraea isabella, Linne 1758, New Caledonia

Cypraea kieneri depriesteri, Schilder 1933 Solomon Islands

Cypraea labrolineata, Gaskoin 1849, Indonesia

Cypraea listeri, Gray 1824, Australia

Cypraea lutea, Gmelin 1791, Philippines

Cypraea nebrites, Melville 1888, UAE

Cypraea ocellata, Linne 1758, India

Cypraea poraria, Linne 1758, Viet-Nam

Cypraea quadrimaculata, Gray 1824, Philippines

Cypraea robertsi, Hidalgo 1906, Ecuador

Cypraea saulae, Gaskoin 1843, Philippines

Cypraea spurca, Linne 1758, Turkey

Cypraea teres, Gmelin 1791, Hawaii

Cypraea vrenderburgi, Schilder 1927, Indonesia

Cypraea zonaria, Gmelin 1791, Senegal

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