Mauritia mauritania Linn, 1758 is an impressive unmistakable cowry. It grows to over four inches and is decidedly a heavyweight.
It is a member of the Arabian complex although it hardly resembles its siblings. Mauritania is the only specie in the group with a solid color base and a dorsum that lacks all over fine reticuations. Its flanged callus is distinctive as is its tall hump.
Mauritania is brown to black/brown in color on both base and dorsum. The dorsum has large irregular white spots that vary in number with the very rare specimen virtually lacking in spots. Hawaiian specimens are as a rule darker in color than the more readily available Philippine ones. Dwarf specimens are found in the Andaman Sea.
Mauritania has a very wide distribution across the Indo Pacific region but apparently only lives in areas of high surf pounding against a vertical wall. It is nocturnal. In Hawaii it is associated with lava. Although not scarce its habitat makes it difficult to collect and due to the rough surf many specimens have scratches and dings. A true gem from Hawaii is scarce.
This specimen came from the small island of Lanai that sees little collection. It was collected this January and has a gorgeous glassy surface. It is a real treasure. Donated by Richard Kent and obtained from the diver who found it.