Barycypraea teulerei (Cazenavette, 1846)

When Burgess published his then definitive book on cypraea I’m 1970 he wrote that Cypraea tuelerei was one of the “great rarities” and that specimens were only know from museums.  And then came Donald Bosch and family doing research on the Gulf of Oman who stumbled on not one but hundreds of specimens.  Tuelerei has one of the most restricted distribution of all cowries, found only off of a few small islands in the Gulf of Oman. With a habitat of shall water along the shore it was easy to collect and was eventually collected to near extinction.  Somewhere along the line the Sultanate banned all marine collection.  Today occasional fresh specimens still reach the market. Prices fave from a low of $20 to $60 and even higher asking prices. 

Cypraea tuelerei is distinctive and can no be mistaken for any other. It is solid and heavy for its size.  Rather than smooth curves found in cowries, it has somewhat angular bends to define the shape. The tech are very weak. It is light beige in color with two distinctive blotched on the dorsum that meet at the top, superheated by a narrow line caused the the mantle. size ranges from 30-60mm with most specimens right in the middle.  The blotches are variable in size and color which makes for an interesting series.  Its nearest relative is Cypraes fultonti which is indeed a great deep water rarity.