Leporicypraea Mappa Linn, 1758

under coral heads night dive 25 meters

Bohol Island, Philippines

No collection of Cypraea is complete without at least one specimen pf the Mao Cowry. It’s large size and unique map pattern make it one of the most stunning of all shells.UThe dorsum is beige in color completely covered by aa brown lineate pattern and a large ”map” formed where the mantle meets.

The Map Cowry is very consistent yet it is split into many specie with new names recently added to the  list.  There is much debate over where they are full specie, sup-specie or merely regional varieties.

All specimens form each region are consistent in size , shape, color, and other identifying marks. 

Occasional Philippine may have rich dark pattern and are especially stunning.  Some populations are quite pale and look faded though they are not.  Also are overcast is found and had its own variety name.

Cypraea geographica Shilder & Shilder 1938 is recognized by most as a full specie.  it has dark orange between the teeth, is smaller in size and tends to be elongate.  It is easy to pick put. 

Wikipedia lists the following but there are more!


Subspecies of Leporicypraea mappa include according to the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS):[6]

Leporicypraea mappa admirabilis Lorenz, 2002

Leporicypraea mappa aliwalensis Lorenz, 2002

Leporicypraea mappa mappa (Linnaeus, 1758)

The Indo-Pacific Molluscan also includes:[2]

Leporicypraea mappa rosea (Gray, 1824)

Leporicypraea mappa panerythra (Melvill, 1888)

Leporicypraea mappa viridis (Kenyon, 1902)

Leporicypraea mappa geographica (Schilder & Schilder, 19

The photo below is my drawer of Mappa.  All have data slips and at least one of each variety is represented.  See how similaar the varieties look.

Specimens from the IndianOcean and South Pacific will cost the collector about ten times as much as a Philippine specimen, others more.

Not all specimens have well formed maps.  Philippine specimens are easy to obtain so those with inferior patterns should be avoided,

This choice specimens was donated by Richard Kent