SHELL OF THE MONTH – SEPTEMBER 2014

lataxisFor September we have a very special shell of the month from a family seldom available to collectors: Latiaxis japonicus Dunker, 1882 a member of Coralliophilidae, There are three genus, Coralliophila, Rapa, and Latiaxis in the family. Although the shells in each genus hardly resemble each other, they have much in common being carnivorous gastropods that live in corals and on sea fans, often in deep water and all lacking a radula. Lataxis is the largest generic group, found mostly in Japan and the Philippines, with many hundreds of species, that are in many cases extremely difficult to differentiate due to their small size (15-35mm), having shoulder spines and are white or whitish coloration. Latiaxis japonicus Dunker, 1882, an exquisitely sculptured pure white shell, is an exception – the triangular shoulder spines make it unmistakable. It is difficult to obtain a single specimen much less a growth series of three as we have here. One needs to collect a large specimen to complete this series, but for whatever reason very large ones over 32mm don’t ever seem to be available. Although it’s named after Japan, this growth series was collected earlier this year in the Philippines.

Donated by Richard Kent. Our thanks to Sally Marshall and James Redding for their donations to the Raffle Table.