SHELL OF THE MONTH – APRIL 2016

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Macrocypraea cervinetta (Kiener, 1843), the Litttle Deer Cowrie, is a very close cousin to our own Macrocypraea cervus (Linne 1771), the Deer Cowrie. Both are among the largest growing of all cowries, however both are extremely variable in size, especially cervinetta as both dwarf populations and giant populations do exist. Size ranges from 130mm down to 35mm. Our specimens are approximately 72 and 40mm.

Both cervus and cervinetta are light in weight, and have an overall fawn color with a greyer base. They are heavily spotted with white. Often there is a gap in the coloring to expose dorsal banding and sometimes a mantle line. The teeth are stained dark. The pattern is very constant. The main difference is in shape where cervinetta is elongated and flattened and cervus is globular.

Cervus and cevinetta lives on opposite sides of our continent. Cervus in the Caribbean specie and cervinetta the Pacific. Although cervinetta has an extended range from Mexico south to Peru, virtually all specimens come from the coast of Panama. Cervinetta lives in shallow water, is nocturnal and if often found exposed in the moonlight.

Both specimens are donated from the collection of Richard Kent