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. 


Conus victoriae Reeve, 1843.
exposed on mud flats at extreme low tide
Broome, West Australia 
   One could easily make an entire collection of textile (tent) cones as there are so many species and so much variety while all share that one common denomination – tents.
   Conus victorae, named in honor of Queen Victoria, is indigenous to the north and western coasts of Australia.  Unlike most cones, it seems any shallow water environment will do and might be found living in mud flats, underneath rocks or in sand at the base of corals.  It is predatory, venomous and one can assume where there is food, it will be found.
   While many tent cones share a similar pattern of tents and fine lines, Conus victorae is distinguishable as its pattern is more complex than most other tent cones. It has a white base overlaid with either orange gold or blueish brown bands, dark blotches, uneven spacing and grouping of small irregular sized tents, fine vertical lines, and often an interrupted pattern. It also tends to have a rougher finish than most textile cones, often with growth lines, healed breaks, and eroded patches. As the shell is common in its locations, there is no reason to collect inferior specimens.
   Conus victoriae is very variable both in coloration and shape,  Elongated spires are often found.  It seems that the colors vary by population rather than within the population. These three specimens came from a lot of two dozen, not one of which had any blue.  I’ve seen other groups where most were blueish and some exceptionally dark.  Albinos also exist.
   These three specimens, are varied in pattern, of near gem quality, but are on the smaller sde,  It seems recently they just don’t grow so big and large specimens will bring twice the price of average ones.
   As with most Australian shells, Conus Victortiae is not easy to obtain due to the exceptionally high price of Australian postage. The shells were acquired from a diver/dealer and are from the collection of Richard Kent. Hopefully the winner will seek out other specimens of different pattern to make an exciting collection of Victoria’s Cone.

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 


A big mystery in the shell world is why do certain olives cover their pattern with a layer of color, most always black or orange? It is as if they are getting ready to celebrate Halloween! 

   For our October Shell of the Month we have three specimens of Oliva irisans Lamarck, 1811, one orange, one black and an unusual one overlaid with brown yet revealing the pattern underneath. Typical specimens, if there is such a thing, are whitish with faint overall mottling and big bold streaks of brown. Possibly the typical pattern has two interrupted brown bands instead.     

   Olives are scavengers, generally found burrowed in sand with just their siphon exposed.  They are communal by nature and will share a meal.  Up until anout10  years ago olives were abundant off the coast of Broward County.  They were easily collected on the off shore sandbars that weould be exposed at low tide.  After a heavy storm dozens would be found washed up on the beach.  Wiith all the beach reconstructions and dredging in recent years, they are no more.  On the west coast olives are still abundant.

    Olives are fun to collect as there are so many species. Most are colorful, the patterns are interesting and varied and most all are small in size.  Identifification is another story all together as olives are all so similar. Olives have been named and renamed so one needs a very current book to have the latest name. There is a good chance the name on the label of a specimen one bought few years ago is no longer valid. 

   Oliva irisans Lamarck, 1811is sometimes mislabeled as Oliva lignaria Marrat, 1868 as they are quite similar.. Irisans is distinguished by the heavy callous on the apex and spire. The color varieties of irisans all have individual names which are not currently recognized, but still used in the trade.

   Two of the specimens are from the Philippines and the third is from Indonesia. They are matched in size and about gem in condition.  Donated from the collection of Richard Kent





Chicoreus brunneus, Link 1807 by diver at 10m in coral rubble, Mactan Island, Cebu, Philippines 2010

The Muricidae is one of the largest, varied and most confusing of all families of mollusks.  Within Muricidae, Chicoreus is the most popular and widely collected.  Worldwide in tropical waters, we have many here in Florida and the Caribbean.  The Philippines have the greatest number of varieties and of those Chicoreus bruneus is one of the more popular and readily available.  Its popularity comes from its deep brown, almost black color that overlays a white shell.  All black and albino specimens are only moderately scare. Orange specimens are rare and quite likely another Chicoreus mislabeled. A common color variety seen mainly in larger specimens is a predominately white shell with black fronds, quite striking! 

Another factor that makes Chicoreus  so interesting are the the fronds on each varicy.  Sometimes short, sometime long, and sometimes fanned out.  Chicoreus brunneus varies too in adult size from under two inches to giant and now scarce specimens of four inches.

Murex are predators and can be found in any waters where there is an abundance of food.

These three beautiful specimens were obtained from a Philippine dealer. At first glance they may appear identical but further examination will reveal differences.  Sizewise they are on the smaller range, about two and a quarter inches, which seems to be what is most often seen nowadays.  Donated by Richard Kent

July Program

Caitlin Shea-Vantine is a second year Masters student working under Dr. Stephen Kajiura at Florida Atlantic University on the Boca Raton campus. Caitlin attended undergrad at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, VT and previously held positions at the University of Georgia Aquarium in Savannah, GA and the Northeastern Marine Science Center (Nahant, MA). She is very passionate about conservation and getting young girls interested in STEM.

Caitlin will be talking about the Stingray’s in our Waters. She will give an overview of they types of Stingrays to be found here, how they use their defense system and how dangerous they are to humans. Caitlin works with Stephen Kajiura, the shark expert at FAU and the photo is of her helping tag a shark to then monitor where it goes.


Mauritia mauritania Linn, 1758 is an impressive unmistakable cowry. It grows to over four inches and is decidedly a heavyweight.
It is a member of the Arabian complex although it hardly resembles its siblings. Mauritania is the only specie in the group with a solid color base and a dorsum that lacks all over fine reticuations. Its flanged callus is distinctive as is its tall hump.
Mauritania is brown to black/brown in color on both base and dorsum. The dorsum has large irregular white spots that vary in number with the very rare specimen virtually lacking in spots. Hawaiian specimens are as a rule darker in color than the more readily available Philippine ones. Dwarf specimens are found in the Andaman Sea.
Mauritania has a very wide distribution across the Indo Pacific region but apparently only lives in areas of high surf pounding against a vertical wall. It is nocturnal. In Hawaii it is associated with lava. Although not scarce its habitat makes it difficult to collect and due to the rough surf many specimens have scratches and dings. A true gem from Hawaii is scarce.
This specimen came from the small island of Lanai that sees little collection. It was collected this January and has a gorgeous glassy surface. It is a real treasure. Donated by Richard Kent and obtained from the diver who found it.

Program for June Meeting

This month’s program will be Carole Marshall. The title of her program is “So You Think You Want to Write a Shell Book?” Carole has been writing a shell book on the “Seashells of Peanut Island and the Lake Worth Lagoon”, for about 12 years now and she still isn’t finished. This is a humorous tongue in cheek, informative program on the things she has learned along the way and why she still isn’t finished. There is also a lot of good information for anyone who is interested in learning about mollusks, web sites that are important for everyone to know and how technology has changed Malacology in the last 12 years. There will be a hand out on important web sites as well.

Carole has always been interested in Natural History, collecting fresh water snails along the Rock River in Wisconsin as a child, majoring in Science in High School and later learning about sea shells. Her mother started collecting shells on trips to Ft. Myers Beach in the 1960’s and Carole soon realized how many interesting stories came with the shells. At a small club she gave a talk on shells to the group during hobby night when a woman came and asked her if she would be interested in joining the Chicago Shell Club. (Her response was “They HAVE CLUBS for People who Collect Shells?) For several years Carole and her parents, John and Lorraine Landers made the trip to the city (Chicago) from the suburbs. Shortly after 1969, when her parents moved to Ft. Myers, Carole and family moved to the West Palm Beach area in 1970.
Although she swears it was extreme mental incapacity that made her do it, Carole has been President of 3 different Shell Clubs. She has written many small articles for the clubs, COA magazine and for Of Sea and Shore Magazine as well as having given talks at Jamborees, COA Conventions, at the American Malacological Society, Florida United Malacologists meetings and for many local groups and organizations. She loves to teach about shells and finds the stories about shell use from ancient times to their uses today, of endless fascination.
Carole also discovered that the stories she loves about shells, can also be found on coins and paper money and Carole has an extensive collection of paper money, coins from ancient to modern, other exonumia, poker chips, medals and trade tokens.
Hopefully you will come to the meeting, be amused, laugh a little and learn.


Tellina Foliacea Linne, 1758
netted burrowed in sand at 30 meters deep
Bantayan, Phillipines 2018

The genus Tellina is a widely distributed marine mollusc and a member of the family Tellinida. Tellins are filter feeding bivalves that inhabit tropical waters around the world. They are edible. All together there are about one hundred species, most of which are rather bland, solid whitish in color. Tellina Foliacea Linne, 1758 is one of the few exceptions with its bright uniform orange color.
One of the most beautiful bivalves is Tellina radiata Linne, 1758 which comes from the Caribbean Sea. It is called the Sunrise Tellin because of its colorful radiating bands of purple on a yellow and whitish shell. Unfortunately it is rather hard to come by recently. Large specimens over three inches are impressive.
Here in Florida we have Tellina lineata W. Truton,1819, the Rose Colored Tellin, which is a shell crafters favorite. It is white with rose color overtones and often about an inch and a half in size.. It can be found burrowed in sand bars at low tide in the Keys and on both coasts. Halves often wash up on shore.
The most commonly available Tellin is Tellina virgata Linne, 1758, a Philippine shell widely wholesaled for shell crafting. It is similar to the Sunrise Tellin but the bands lacks the colorful yellows.
We are offering in this raffle a half dozen pairs of Tellina foliacea, large in size of about 3″. They are very fresh specimens, collected by native divers in 2018. Donated by Richard Kent and recently obtained from a Philippine dealer. Tellina foliacea is not an easy shell to obtain, making this a very desirable raffle to win, whether the shells are won by specimen collectors or shell crafters.