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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

SHELL OF THE MONTH JULY 2021

Hexaplex cichoreum
(Gmelin, 1791) [1]

18Hexaplex cichoreum (Gmelin, 1791)  iS a Western Pacific murex of medium to large size, known for its interesting and variable varices. In some specimens they are short and curled while in others stubby. Some populations have long varices (spines) as in this specimen. The shell is commonly white with orange brown bands and the varices are dark chocolate to black. Rare specimens are melanistic and others albino, The spire also varies from short too long.

This specimen is of good size, 4″ long and was collected in the coral reefs by SCUBA off Palawan Island, Philippines in 2018.

June Meeting

Good morning all. Due to an unexpected cancellation of this month’s speaker, and the lateness of the cancellation, I was not able to find a speaker for this month. I have put together a short program titled “Oh, It’s only sand”, mainly for the new shell pile attendees. I have a lot of microscopic shells from the sand from the apertures of the shells found at Phipp’s Park. I will not take too long, maybe twenty to twenty five minutes, and there will be plenty of time to do a show and tell. Sorry for doing too many programs, but hopefully we will have real meetings again. If we have a real meeting in June, I will have a good program for that. 

 Here is a blurb,This month’s program will be presented by Carole Marshall. The title is “Oh, It’s only sand”. This program will explore the sand that came out of the recent dredge piles at Phipp’s Park. The micro shells found in that sand and how you can look for some of these tiny treasures. Most of us, consider the sand a nuisance, but there are a myriad of tiny treasures if we only look.
In addition, feel free to show some of your treasures, as we will have a show and tell. Your chance to tell something of a special shell or even a thrift store find.  The meeting is open to everyone, so feel free to join our ZOOM meeting.
  Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/832893 40441?pwd=Y05VNXNESEZVQ3o5 S2NEZk8xaGdBQT09  Meeting ID: 832 8934 0441 Passcode: 429109 One tap mobile +19292056099,,83289340441#,,,,*429109# US (New York) +13017158592,,83289340441#,,,,*429109# US (Washington DC) Dial by your location +1 929 205 6099 US (New York) +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC) Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kdb1KYuKAa

May 2021 Meeting

Good morning all. Due to an unexpected cancellation of this month’s speaker, and the lateness of the cancellation, I was not able to find a speaker for this month. I have put together a short program titled “Oh, It’s only sand”, mainly for the new shell pile attendees. I have a lot of microscopic shells from the sand from the apertures of the shells found at Phipp’s Park. I will not take too long, maybe twenty to twenty five minutes, and there will be plenty of time to do a show and tell. Sorry for doing too many programs, but hopefully we will have real meetings again. If we have a real meeting in June, I will have a good program for that. 

 Here is a blurb,This month’s program will be presented by Carole Marshall. The title is “Oh, It’s only sand”. This program will explore the sand that came out of the recent dredge piles at Phipp’s Park. The micro shells found in that sand and how you can look for some of these tiny treasures. Most of us, consider the sand a nuisance, but there are a myriad of tiny treasures if we only look.


In addition, feel free to show some of your treasures, as we will have a show and tell. Your chance to tell something of a special shell or even a thrift store find.  The meeting is open to everyone, so feel free to join our ZOOM meeting.


  Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/832893 40441?pwd=Y05VNXNESEZVQ3o5 S2NEZk8xaGdBQT09  Meeting ID: 832 8934 0441 Passcode: 429109 One tap mobile +19292056099,,83289340441#,,,,*429109# US (New York) +13017158592,,83289340441#,,,,*429109# US (Washington DC) Dial by your location +1 929 205 6099 US (New York) +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC) Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kdb1KYuKAa

April Meeting

Our speaker will be Jessica Pate who has an undergraduate degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and a graduate degree from Florida Atlantic University.  She has studied sea turtles in Florida, Central America, and West Africa.  She has also taught marine biology on traditionally rigged schooners and has crossed the Atlantic Ocean by sail.  In 2016, Jessica started the Florida Manta Project to study the biology and ecology of manta rays in South Florida and has discovered a potential rare nursery habitat.
Jessica will be talking about manta ray biology and global manta ray conservation, as well what discoveries that she has made about Florida’s manta rays.  You will also find out how to become a citizen scientist and contribute to important manta ray research!