Shell of the Month – October 2022

Oliva bifasciata Weinkauff, 1878

Oliva bifasciata Weinkauff, 1878is our Broward county olive. It’s range starts at the Palm Beach County line and goes south off shore through the Florida Keys.  Of interest is that north of Browad County it is replaced by Oliva sayana. The two do not appear to overlap.

This attractive little olive of about one an a half to two inches in length comes in three varieties. The common is wheat colored and completely covered with fine dashes and lines. The second variety is milk white and almost void of decoration. The third has two chocolate brown bands that wide in width as the shell grows. The varieties appear to be location specific. 

Until recently they were abundant living in sand near our Florida reefs. The receding tide would usually reveal a few fresh dead specimens and a tropical storm more than one could collect.

Sadly  beach restoration projects and pollution have made these rather scarce

Oliva bifasciata is known as the Netted Olive although that name belongs to Oliva reticularis Lamarck, 1811 a very closely related species from the Bahamas.  When R. Tucker Abbot wrote his then definitive “American Seashells” he called these shells Oliva reticularis, delegating bifasciata as a synonym along with several other names. It is common to see that name used in older collections. 

As this is a local species, it would be interesting to hear our members’s collecting experiences. These specimens were dredged in a sand restoration project in Hollywood Beach in the early 1990s.

From the collection of Richard Kent

Shell of the month – September 2022

Homalocantha anatomica Perry, 1811

Not all shells are handsome. Not all shells are graceful. Not all shells look like wha we think a shell should look like.

Homalocantha are Murex found in the tropics waters of the Pacific. They reside in coral heads. We have two varieties of Homalocantha anatomical this month, Homalocantha anatomica zamboi Burch & Burch 1960 and Homalocantha anatomica pele Pilsbry 1918. The first is from the Philippines The second is indigenous to Hawaii. Hawaiaans consider Pele to be full species Authorities disagree.

Both are extremely similar with a dominant body while and large varices that look like webbed feet at the termination of growth. The difference being that Zamboi shoot out varies at the end of each growth cycle and in Pele a knob is formed instead Pele is generally larger. This specimens small to make a a better comparison. Adult size is between 2 and 3 inches.

S second difference is that Zamoi is always white. Pele can have brilliant colors, especially on the body white. Intense reds and yellows sometimes occur. shades of lavender are common. The price for a bright red specimen spirals out of control.

The development of the body sculpture is very consistent from one specimen to the next.. Occasional specimens have additional or missing digits. The difference between the two species is clear in the final phot. Look closely!

Shell of the Month – August 2022

Amoria ubdulaata Sowerby 1864 extreme low tide, St. Vincent Gulf, South Australia, Australia

With its elegantly proportioned curves and delicate undulating pattern of fine lines, a decentt size and high gold Amoria undulate is a most beautiful shell. 

Amoriia undulate is a member of the family Volutidae. Its common name is Wavy Volute. It is carnivores eating mainly small sea snails. 

There are multiple specie of Amoria that can be collected in southern Australia. where they  inhabit the tidal flats where they breed. Australia is known for its extensive tides that leave huge amounts of the bottom surface exposed at low tide, even more so on the extreme low tides.  Amoria undulate like many others in its family live at the far end of the tidal bank. They are not found close to the shore. After breeding season they migrate to deeper water.   

To collect one has to watch the tide table and wade out a long distance in hopes to collect, alway keeping an eye on the cock so as not to get drowned by the surging incoming tie. Hence, these shells don’t show up all that often in  collections. 

This specimen was donated by Richard Kent who obtained it from a South Australian shell dealer/collector. It is solid and full adult. It would be graded as a gem. It would be a standout in any collection!

Silent Auction

The July meeting will include a silent auction with 10 lots. The shells will e on view when the meeting opens. Below are photos of three of the shells to be auctioned off. Happy bidding!

Shell of the Month – July 2022

Terebra areolata (Link, 1807) by diver 20m in sand, Palawam Island, Philippines

Terebra pertusa (Born, 1778) hand dredged 4-8m, Olango Island, Cebu, Philippines 

Terebra nebulosa (Sowerby, 1825) hand dredged 4-8m, Olango Island, Cebu, Philippines 

The Terebridae are a very large family composed of over 400 species. They are world-wide in distribution and live in tropical waters. They prefer a sandy bottom where they feed on sea worms using a harpoon like attachment to poison their prey. They are commonly called Augers, named after a drill bit.

Most augers are small  growing to a maximum size of3 2-3” with many species much smaller then that.  There are a dozen or so species that reach 5+6”, one of which we have here.  And then there is the heavy weight Marlin Spoke, Terebra maculata in a class bu itself. This sold, massive shell reaches 10”.

The Augers a re a colorful lot with an amazing amount of variety. One needs a magnifying glass to identify the smaller species and it would probably take an expert o do so.

The pretty rose colored Terebra nebulosa came out of a dealers lot of 30 that had a few others species mixed in..

All shells were acquired by Richard Kent from a dealer based in Cebu, Phillips.

When shelling in Florida waters, keep an eye open, we have augers here, though all are bland whitish in color.

SHELL OF THE MONTH JUNE 2022

Melongena corona (Gmelin, 1791) Florida Crown Conch

Melongena corona, the Crown Conch, inhabits the shore line of the Gulf of Mexico, especially the west coast of Florida.  It has several closely related species and itself several named varieties. It is variable in size, shape, intensity of color an of particular interest the number and size of the should spines, its Crown of Thorns. Typical specimens reach an adult size of three inches, this one is about four and the rare well fed specimen may reach five inches.

The Crown Conch is cream in color encircled by light to dark brown bands. It has a wide mouth, a claw shaped operculum, and its shoulder is adorned with short atubby spines forming the crown. It is a predator, particularly fond of oysters but will eat any bivalve it comes across. Despite its name, it is not a conch. 

This large distinctive specimen, with its outstanding crown, was donated by Robert Marchiselli, a Tampa Bay area shell dealer. 

SHELL OF THE MONTH – MAT 2022

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. 

SHELL OF THE MONTH – JANUARY 2022

Conus maldivus Hwass in Bruguière, 1792.

Conus generalis Linnaeus, 1767 

Are Conus generals and Cpnus maldivus two separate species or are they both varieties of the dame?

They are nearly identical yet obviously different.  They have different ranges that do not appear to overlap.  Generalis is  Pacific cone. Maldivus is an Indian ocean.

Both grow0 to about the same size and have nearly identical patterns. Their shape is classic “ice cream cone” and identical.

Both are whiteish encircled by vertical flame like streaks of dark brown to black color. Both have two broad bans, one above, one below the middy. Both are subject to spire erosion,

The difference are: Generalis is glossy except in the largest specimens. Maldivus is not Gneralis has a glass surface. Madvus is porous.

Generalis is the more collorful of the two. The bands may be orange or brown or even approaching black. Maldivus has uniform chocolate brown bans.

There are interesting varieties as the patters are variable. Phillipine rarely have the bands change from grand to dark brown halfway through their growth resulting in specimens with brown bands on one side and orange on the other.

There is a Thailand variation that is suffused with orange. It is a stunning shell that does not attain the large size.

There is a dwarf validity from the Sulu Sea.

There is also a glossy white variety from the Indian Ocean that defies description, As they are collected from fishing boats the exact location.  In all my years of collecting I have only obtained one such shell.

All three raffle specimens are as nice as they come. The generals in the middle is stunning. It is a very hard to find largely white color pattern that appears in one of a hundred.

Donated by Richard Kent from his personal collection

November Program

This month’s program is being given by our own Bev Dolezal. She will be giving us a program on the COA in Melbourne, Florida this past June. 

Bev is one of the most interesting persons I have ever spoken with. Born in England and educated in various parts of the world, she lived her early years in a mansion in the Bahamas, where her father produced rum. 

On the cover of “Parents” magazine sitting on a beach, with a lovely shell, is one of her earliest memories. 

To enhance her education, her parents sent her to a convent school in England. She describes it as a bad movie and was fortunate to only spend two years there. 

On to another boarding school in Lake Forest, Illinois, she met her husband. His education was as broad as Bev’s, his father being with the State Department, he lived all over the world as well. 

Enjoy Bev’s program on the COA convention and if you get a chance to sit and chat with her in the near future, please do so. Her stories and anecdotes are amazing.

SHELL OF THE MONTH SEPTEMBER 2021

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[edit]

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