ReginaThe Queen Mitre  – Vexillum regina, Sowerby I, 1825 – 3 varieties

The Queen Mitre is cursed! This beautiful shell is elegantly shaped with a tall spire, sculptured with axial ribs and valleys, and circled with bands of multiple colors. Adult size ranges from 50 to 70mm. Unfortunately the Queen Mitre has a big problem. No one is quite sure what the proper name should be. It was always known as Vexillum regina, Sowerby I, 1825. Then the scientists decided that name was a nomen nudum and the proper name should be Vexillum citrinum, Gmelin 1791. Along came Cate in 1961 who christened the Phillipine shells, Vexillum filliaregina, the Colorful Queen.  Add to this confusion is Vexillium taeniatum, Lamark 1811 which may or may not be the same shell depending on who’s describing it. To make matters even worse, all Vexillum are no longer Mitres, the scientists moved the shells out of the Mitridae and into Costellaridae.

The shells in our raffle represent three of the variations on the market. Even novice collectors will have no problem distinguishing one from the other. Each variety is restricted in locale. Our identification is arbitrary. Even though Vexillum regina is again recognized as valid, there is no consensus as to which shell is which or whether they    share the same name or not.

Specimen #1. Vexillum citrinum, Gmelin 1791 is found only in Madagascar and rarely the African coast. Its colors are earth tones. It has the most sharply chiseled sculpture of the three. Extra large specimens are quite narrow.

Specimen #2. Vexillum filliaregina, Cate 1961 is the colorful orange, white and black variety found in the Philippines. It is quite variable in color but not shape.