Four Australian Volutes

Australia is known for its outstanding indigenous fauna, both on land and under the sea. Due to its isolation, species evolved independently from the rest of the Pacific basin.

Australian cypraea are famous for their uniqueness, variation and for many specie, exorbitant prices. The volutes too offer a very wide variety and fortunately for the collector, many are moderately priced, although none are cheap.

We have four volutes on the raffle table this month and they come from opposite ends of the Australian continent. The two from Western Australia were obtained from a Singapore dealer while the two from Queensland from an Australian diver and collector.

A fascinating thing about shell collecting in Australia is that every five hundred or so miles different species will be found. Yes, most species have an extremely limited range, with a very few extending across the region. Western Australia has extreme tides and it is possible to walk great distances from the shore at low tide, making collecting an easy task, however one has to be quite aware of the incoming tide! Many varieties of volutes can be found inhabiting the sand flats.

Amoria are very attractive shells, glossy with a pleasing shape and a wide range of patterns. In life, the mollusk has a large foot, the top of which is often very colorful. Amoria is a small genus with less than 20 members, all restricted to Australia. The three included here are representative of the genus.

Volutoconus has an extremely small family of only four. Volutoconus grossi, is not so attractive, its shape slightly distorted and to the eye the proportions don’t seem quite right. Although it is not a rare shell it is seldom seem.

All four specimens, while gem in quality, are on the smaller size. Each year large specimens become more and more difficult and more expensive to obtain.
Donated by Richard Kent

left to right
Amoria maculata Swainson, 1822
by diver in rubble 10-20m
Bunker Islands, Queensland, Australia

Amoria grayi Ludbrook, 1953
extreme low tide on sand flat
Broome, West Australia

Amoria ellioti G. B. Sowerby II, 1864
Sandbar at low tide
Port Hedland, West Australia

Volutoconus grossi Iredale, 1927
trawled, fishing boats
Keppel Bay, Queensland, Australia