The Volutes are among the most beautiful of all shells. The reason they are not more popular here is that none have extensive distribution, a very few come from our hemisphere, with majority indigenous to Australia – and are those Aussie shells ever fantastic! Cymbiolacca is one of the finest with about seven species recognized. What makes the genus Cymbiolacca most exciting and collectible is that each species has several subspecies or forms. It seems every region of Queensland, Australia has its own variety.
All are glossy and have a relatively similar size, shape and pattern. All are white, with a pinkish or rose overlay, revealing small white areas, each with its own brown to black spot. Some varieties are smooth, some have shoulder tubercules with or without small sharp spines or not. Some shells are way more elongate than others. A few are heavier in mass. Some have two darker color bands. One thing they all have in common are rows of short vertical dashes on the apex end of each whorl. They makes for a fascinating study.
The snail itself it very attractive with a very large brightly colored foot.
Cymbiolacca Pulchra Sowerby, 1825 has several varieties including Cymbiolacca pulchra houarti, Poppe 1985 which is our shell of the month It is about 72mm, a descent size and a very pretty specimen. It was donated from the collection of Richard Kent and acquired from Australian sheller Doug Thorn, who goes by the business name of Peristicta, which is one of the species in this genus.
Note: Recent changes in accepted nomenclature now have the name as Cymbiola (cymbiolacca) houarti Bail & Limpus, 1998