Homalocantha pele (Pilsbry, 1918) Taken by diver on ledges at 80 feet North coast, Oahu, Hawaii

Homalocantha pele (Pilsbry, 1918) will never win a beauty contest, that’s for sure! It is however a very popular shell to collect to do it’s extreme variety in size, shape and color. Typical specimens are an off white in color and rather bland, but there are those that exhibit, lavender, purple, yellow, and most desirable bright orange or red. The shape of the fronds are much wider and more developed in the better specimens. Sometimes there is even a double row of fronds.

Homalocantha pele (Pilsbry, 1918) is a reef dweller, well camou aged in life. It is a member of the Muricidae family and a fairly small genus called Homalocantha. It has a very close relative in Homalocantha anatomica (Perry, 1811) and for years they were considered one and the same. H. anatomica is found in the Philippines and H. pele is indigenous to Hawaii. Side by side they are recognizably different and even amateur collectors will have no trouble distinguishing the two.

Our specimen, donated by Richard Kent, is typical in size and color. Collectors looking to acquire the most exotic colored pele need to be prepared to pay outrageous prices as a bright red and white specimen can bring up ten times the price as an ordinary one in auction.