Our Shell of the Month, Conus tribblei Walls, 1977 is in memory of Leonard Nimoy – Spock – of the TV series Star Trek. The shell was named by Walls after his pet cat who was in turn named after the “The Trouble with Tribbles” which aired in 1967 and is considered one of the all time best episodes of Star Trek.
Conus tribllei is not a rare shell so it is surprising that it was not named until 1977. One guess is that it was confused with Conus bayani Jousseaume, 1872, Conus recluzianus Bernardi, 1853 and several other similar cones and slipped the attention of the scientists.
The shell is obconical and elongate, rather elegant is shape. It is white with a pattern of brownish blotches arranged in irregular axial groups. There are typically spiral rows of granules on the bottom third or sometimes more with a the remainder of the shell being smooth. The surface is waxy and glossy.
It is reported that specimens grow to 70mm to 100mm and larger but they don’t seem to grow that large anymore. The only specimen listed on eBay at this moment is a meager 47mm. Specimens of Conus tribblei are difficult to acquire. The few specimens that reach the market come from the Philippines or Taiwan. Our specimen is a choice one, about as near to gem in grade as a cone can be and has a natural lip. Donated by Richard Kent.