November 2022 Meeting

This is a very special program and I hope everyone will come out to hear Blair and Dawn Witherington. If you have their books, bring them to the meeting and they will sign them. There will also be books to buy that they have written. 

Blair and Dawn have written one of the most valuable beach books for Florida “Florida’s Living Beaches A Guide for the Curious Beachcomber”   They cover much of what you would normally encounter in a beach walk. 

Come hear this dynamic couple talk about their Florida beachcombing experiences and their new book.



Discover Our Living Beaches

Authors present an engaging photographic tour entitled “Our Beaches are Alive!”

Blair and Dawn Witherington will share illustrated stories from their newly updated book, Florida’s Living Beaches. Did you know that our wave-swept coastline offers much more than a sandy stroll amidst stunning scenery? As ever-changing ribbons of sand, these beaches foster unique life forms and accept beguiling castaways from a vast marine wilderness. Mysteries abound. What is this odd creature? Why does the beach look this way? How did this strange item get here? Blair and Dawn have sought to satisfy this beachcomber’s curiosity within four books on southeastern US beaches. Subjects covered include beach processes, plants, animals, minerals, and manmade objects. In their presentation Blair and Dawn suggest a series of “quests” to highlight one’s beachcombing journey and to show how each visit to a beach is unique—no two are exactly alike, and at any given beach, every day brings something different. The couple has a new book coming out in late November entitled, Living Beaches of the Gulf Coast.

Following their presentation, the Authors will sign copies of their books, which will be available for purchase as gifts, keepsakes, and tickets to beach adventure. 

Blair and Dawn Witherington are professional naturalists. Blair is a research scientist with the Inwater Research Group and the University of Florida. He has baccalaureate and master’s degrees in biology from the University of Central Florida and a doctorate in zoology from the University of Florida. In 38 years of research, he has contributed numerous scientific articles and book chapters on sea turtle biology and sandy beaches. Dawn is a graphic design artist and scientific illustrator trained at the Art Institutes of Colorado and Ft. Lauderdale. Her art and design are prominent in natural history books, posters, exhibits, and a line of sea-themed greeting cards. Together, Blair and Dawn have merged their art, writing, photography, and design within a number of projects, including several books on beaches, seashells, and sea turtles.


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. 


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.


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

February 10 Zoom Meeting

Born in Boston, John developed an interest in coin and stamp collecting at an early age, and also picked up the odd shell during the summer months.  After enlisting in the Air Force in 1972, he received a posting on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam in 1975 where he joined the Reef Roamers Shell Club on the base.  Eventually, he was assigned to Hickam AFB, Hawai’i in 1978.  He became a member of the Hawaiian Malacological Society, met his wife, Cheryl, in 1980, and after four years there, was transferred to San Antonio where he was stationed for four and a half years before returning to Hawai’i in 1987 for another six years.  He and Cheryl arrived in Florida in 1993.  He retired from the Air Force in 1996 after 24 years.  He worked at the Base Exchange on MacDill AFB for 21 years before retiring in 2019.

Over the years he has gone form a general collector to specializing in several families and fossils.  His main interests are limpets, Spondylidae, Strombidae, Cymatiidae/Ranellidae, Hawaiian fossils, and Florida fossils.  During his stint in San Antonio, he rekindled his stamp collecting when he discovered that there were stamps depicting shells.  His collection has grown tremendously over the years to include stamps, postal stationary, covers, cinderella items, and picture postcards.

John will be giving us a program on Shells on Stamps.  

John and Cheryl have won many awards for their exhibits and work extremely hard for the Conchologists of America. They have been Silent auction chairmen for many years and have earned the Neptunea award from COA.

Many of you may remember John as one of our Scientific judges for our last shell show. 

I hope you can make our ZOOM format. For those of you who are not joining our ZOOM meetings, I hope you will consider joining us. We do have a nice time and get to chat, see speakers who would normally not be able to appear in person at a club meeting and learn. We still do not have a date that we can meet at the Civic Center, but it is nice to keep in touch this way until the Civic center opens back up.

Zoom Meeting, Wednesday, Nov 11, 2020

November Program

The naming of shells is a personal thing. Some scientists exhibit a fair amount of whimsy in naming new species. One scientist I know named shells in honor of his cat and another for his dog!!! In addition to his children and wife. 

This month, since we still cannot meet in person, is an interesting program by our own Tom Ball. Tom is a musician and has a great collection of shells named for musical instruments, musical artists, writers, singers and scores.

Tom also has, in addition to his regular collection, a side inset of shells named for science fiction creatures, actors and characters. This month he will treat us to a program on this subset.

A fun program with a little history of how Tom even knew to look for these shells.

We hope you can tune in. Check your newsletter for the link. 



             Around the world with cone shells. We welcome our new members with a selection of seven different cone shells from seven different countries.  The cones are venomous and are predators. Most live among the coral reefs in tropical waters. While many species have a natural gloss, others are flat with barely a shine. Cones are a collector’s favorite.
   The collection includes from top left to bottom right the following:
   Conus omaria Hwass in Bruguière, 1792. This popular tent cone is from north west Australia, the southern extent of its range. One could make a huge collection of tent cones as there are so many species. Conus omaria is most typical.
   Conus ebraeus Linn, 1758 is named the Hebrew Cone because the regularly spaced black markings on white resemble Hebrew writing.  This specimen, which is very large for the species, is from Hawaii.
   Conus pupurascens Sowerby, 1833 is the Purple Cone. Unfortunately the purple mottling eventually fades. This one is from an offshore island in Panama.
   Conus janus Hwass in Bruguière, 1792 is an Indian Ocean cone from the island Madagascar. It comes in to two distinct varieties., one with dark brown flamules and other with gold.
   Conus terebra Born, 1758. This plain whitish cone has horizontal striations that completly encircle the shell and that along with its usual shape makes it quite distinctive. This is a Philippine specimen.
   Conus achatinus Gmelin 1791 is called the Agate Cone. It has a striking pattern of clouds and spiral dashes and is quite colorful.  This one comes from the hard to get nation of Myanmar and is the scarcest one in this collection.  
   The final cone is a local representative of the family, Conus regius Gmelin, 1791, and was collected off Key West. The Crown cone has a range that goes down the Caribbean Islands all the way to Brazil.
   All the specimens are in excellent condition; growth lines are natural in cone shells as they grow is spurts and the line marks the end of each growing period.  All shells have a data slip with collection details.  The seven specimens were donated by Richard Kent and should have a combined retail value of $60 or more in today’s market.

February Meeting

Title: Ecological interactions between marine macrophytes and small invertebrate epifauna in tropical shallow coastal systems

Synopsis: Marine macrophytes form biogenic habitats that maintain the biodiversity of marine coastal systems, especially for small invertebrate epifauna that maintain essential ecosystem functions. These macrophyte-invertebrate interactions are prevalent in shallow coastal systems, including subtidal seagrass beds and intertidal sandy beaches. These shallow coastal systems are also challenged with periodic influxes of pelagic Sargassum, a region-wide issue affecting much of the Caribbean, including South Florida, since 2011. Though these Sargassum influxes occur periodically, we know very little about how these influxes affect the local macrophyte and invertebrate epifaunal communities. This upcoming meeting will provide an update on research related to macrophyte-invertebrate interactions in shallow coastal systems. Current findings of ongoing research and further opportunities of investigation, particularly with effects of Sargassum influxes, will be discussed. 

Biography: Lowell Andrew Iporac is a Ph.D Candidate at Florida International University’s (FIU) Biology Doctoral Program. Lowell obtained his B.A. in Biology from California State University, San Bernardino, where he completed four different undergraduate projects. Among those four research projects, it was an internship at Shannon Point Marine Center that sparked his interest in marine biology. Upon moving to FIU, he joined the Marine Macroalgae Research Lab (MMRL) with Dr. Ligia Collado-Vides in 2016. When not doing his research, Lowell likes snorkeling, diving, hiking, and playing with his Nintendo Switch. 

Black Water Diving by Linda Ianniello. 

Back by Popular Demand

You asked and Linda answered yes. Linda Ianniello gave us a magnificent program on Black Water Diving in May of 2017 and you wanted more. 

What is Black Water Diving you ask? A group of divers go out in the dark of the night and dive over 500 feet of water where the largest daily migration takes place. Small sea creatuures come from the depths to feed closer to the surface and the underwater photographers are waiting. In a holding formation 40 feet deep and drifting with the currents, the photographers take photos of minute sea creatures that come to the surface. Tiny veligers of shrimp, lobster, fish and mollusks. Most under half an inch.  Linda has a new program and I guarantee you will be awed at the photography and the beautiful creatures captured by her camera. 

Since she was here last, Linda, along with her dive buddy Susan Mears has written a book Black Water Creatures. She will have a few copies of her book with her to sell.  

Please join us for an unforgettable program