exposed on mud flats at extreme low tide
Broome, West Australia
One could easily make an entire collection of textile (tent) cones as there are so many species and so much variety while all share that one common denomination – tents.
Conus victorae, named in honor of Queen Victoria, is indigenous to the north and western coasts of Australia. Unlike most cones, it seems any shallow water environment will do and might be found living in mud flats, underneath rocks or in sand at the base of corals. It is predatory, venomous and one can assume where there is food, it will be found.
While many tent cones share a similar pattern of tents and fine lines, Conus victorae is distinguishable as its pattern is more complex than most other tent cones. It has a white base overlaid with either orange gold or blueish brown bands, dark blotches, uneven spacing and grouping of small irregular sized tents, fine vertical lines, and often an interrupted pattern. It also tends to have a rougher finish than most textile cones, often with growth lines, healed breaks, and eroded patches. As the shell is common in its locations, there is no reason to collect inferior specimens.
Conus victoriae is very variable both in coloration and shape, Elongated spires are often found. It seems that the colors vary by population rather than within the population. These three specimens came from a lot of two dozen, not one of which had any blue. I’ve seen other groups where most were blueish and some exceptionally dark. Albinos also exist.
These three specimens, are varied in pattern, of near gem quality, but are on the smaller sde, It seems recently they just don’t grow so big and large specimens will bring twice the price of average ones.
As with most Australian shells, Conus Victortiae is not easy to obtain due to the exceptionally high price of Australian postage. The shells were acquired from a diver/dealer and are from the collection of Richard Kent. Hopefully the winner will seek out other specimens of different pattern to make an exciting collection of Victoria’s Cone.