Full Version: Information about Cypraea pyrum and spurca Habitat
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Dear all collectors,

I shall be the first one to post here as a usual member <img src="images/smiley/smile.gif" alt="" border="0" />
I am looking on any kind of info related to the habitat of <i>Cypraea pyrum</i><s> and <i>Cypraea spurca [/i</s>]from Mediterranean sea. Deapth ? Feeding habits ? etc...
If any of you have seen some while scuba, feel free to write anything you noticed.

Concerning [i]Cypraea lurida</i>, I got all the infos... <img src="images/smiley/smile.gif" alt="" border="0" />

<img src="" alt="" style="border:0" />

David  <span class="petit">--Last edited by David Touitou on 2008-10-10 19:19:08 --</span>
Dear David, over the years I observed several dozens of living spurca in different areas of the Mediterranean (from Italy to Greece, Turkey, Malta).  During the day they were hiding, fully covered by their mantle, beneath small to very small rocks in pretty shallow water: 0.5 to 2.0 mt (although I did find some as deep as 25 mt).  The top of the rocks was almost invariably covered by thick brown algae with appearance much like the mantle of the spurca, and sometimes by leaf-like conidal algae.  From time to time I could spot spurca in the same strecth of coast as lurida, but very rarely in the same bay and anyway never close one each other.  Also, very unusual to find more than one spurca under the same rock as it was the case for the lurida.
With regard to pyrum, I just found one living specimen over the years: it was hiding under a huge rock with posidonia oceanica at its base in 4.5 mt.  This was in a small island on the NE coast of Sardinia, in an area with also lurida but not spurca.
Hope this info may be useful to you.
Kind regards, Fabio Trave
Dear Fabio,

Thank you very much for your help <img src="images/smiley/clap.gif" alt="" border="0" />

It seems that you have a huge experience in med. cowries <img src="images/smiley/love.gif" alt="" border="0" />
Personnally I looked for them only during two months and managed only to find lurida from 0.5 to 25m of water in crevices and rarely under rocks. The Only pyrum I have seen where I dove(Var : Bandol to Hyeres) was really outstanding and was found fresh dead by my Cousin who owns a scuba center in Bandol Bay.
She found it laying on the sand by 25 meters near rocky crevices and posidonia grass. Though several specimens of spurca where found by their divers, still fresh deads laying on the sand by 20 meters of water. That's why I always thought that the habitat was quite deep. Have you personnaly looked for them in South of France ? if yes did you find some there too ?


Edit : I found the article I made at the time on my Backup Cd rom from year 1999 wich was not online anymore : the specimen is really outstanding <img src="images/smiley/smile.gif" alt="" border="0" />
I uploaded it again for you :
<a href="" target="_blank"><!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""> ... 011299.htm</a><!-- m --></a>

<img src="" alt="" style="border:0" />

<img src="" alt="" style="border:0" />

<img src="" alt="" style="border:0" />  <span class="petit">--Last edited by David Touitou  on 2006-07-17 01:00:18 --</span>
I have personally collected all the three species (lurida, spurca and pyrum) in the quite long stretch of coast that goes from about 30 km west of Genova (Italy) to Cannes - that is, including the coast of France nearby the border with Italy.  However, I have been finding live only lurida, not the other two.  You are right: it is quite unusual to find lurida under stones along this coast (at variance with many other places): during the day they can be spotted mostly by enlightening cracks of the rocks.  Maybe this is the reason why I did not find live spurca, which is smaller and much more mimetic.  The best way - to me - to find live spurca during the day is indeed by turning rocks: they tend to fall down free after a couple of seconds.  But they live in that coast: apart from empty shells, I got a couple of live ones from a diving friend.  The only two pyrum I found in sucha  northern area were  crabbed and - indeed - at scuba depth. Both very dark: similar to the one in your picture, but not as dark as an incredible population that is living near Taranto (south-eastern tip of Italy).
My sense is that the whole coast (Italy and France) have them all (including achatidea).  On the Italian side there are several good nice places to dive; trouble is, several areas are now marine park and permits for night dives are difficult to get.  I have unfortunately no info on diving on the French side.
Cheers, Fabio (52-yr old and diving since the age of 17, back in the old times when no BCD's, computers or else were available: just legs and fins to keep buoyancy, and watch + profondimeter + US Navy decompression tables to calculate where and when stop for decompression...).
Dear Fabio,

Thank you very much for your time and the informations you share. I hope to see these live one day !! Concerning Marine Parks, It is now forbbiden to collect any Cowries in the Med. sea, so... no matter id Mp or not <img src="images/smiley/smile.gif" alt="" border="0" /> I have one of my best friends who is an underwater great Photographer and we'd love to shoot these two cowries <img src="images/smiley/smile.gif" alt="" border="0" /> I am sure to find these one day. I will start my hunts where my cousin found the specimens ans I am quite sure to suceed one day. It takes time only...

Thank you again for all you help and if you think about something else, come back on the topic and post <img src="images/smiley/smile.gif" alt="" border="0" /> If I find some, I will post on the topic too <img src="images/smiley/smile.gif" alt="" border="0" />

Cheers, David (31, Scuba since age of 8, but I am of the computers generation and love these, especially for scuba in deaphs of 50-60 meters = we can stay longer...).  <span class="petit">--Last edited by David Touitou  on 2006-07-18 01:34:31 --</span>

Im going a bit off topic now, sorry.
A few years ago I found a beached spurca at Corsica. This steered my interest into the cypraea family.
Later in a one week vacation at Sardinia I searched living spurca and lurida by snorkeling.
Unfortunately I was not able to see any Cypraea under rocks in swallow water or hiding in caves.

My questions about lurida and spurca:

1 How rare are they?
2 Do I need to scuba dive?
3 Are there locations where you see them for sure?
4 Do they camouflage/hide that good you can't recognize them easy?
5 Can you find them at crowded and polluted beaches?
Dear Collector,

I can only talk about <i>Cypraea lurida </i>which I know prety well.
First of all read this :
<a href="" target="_blank"><!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""> ... lurida.htm</a><!-- m --></a>

1 How rare are they?
Usually Common
2 Do I need to scuba dive?
3 Are there locations where you see them for sure?
4 Do they camouflage/hide that good you can't recognize them easy?
Yes and No. Look at the pictures of the link given. You may sometimes make error versus a gray sponge which looks really the same...
5 Can you find them at crowded and polluted beaches?
Do not know

DAvid  <span class="petit">--Last edited by david on 2006-09-05 18:53:57 --</span>
HI all,

A short message to anounce that I have found a live<i> spurca</i>
In Hyeres by -20m of water under rock. I have now the habitat of this specie...
<a href="" target="_blank"><!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""> ... 2_2007.htm</a><!-- m --></a>
Happy Shelling,
DAVID  <span class="petit">--Last edited by David Touitou  on 2007-01-29 21:56:30 --</span>
About the mediterranean i dont know the habitat. If you are interested in i can provide some information about the portuguese pyrum. It is much rarer; harder to find and much darker than the med ones.  I found them during the night , snorkelling at 3 meters depth. The mant is translucid when you point the flashlight and black during day light.

About the feeding habits, a friend of mine kept some five specimens alive inside an aquarium for severall months. They handled quite well ; hidding during the day light inside small holes and feeding on whatever they found on the bottom and even attached themselves to the aquarium wall on a attempt to feed on the algae .

Detritivorous for sure. What kind of algae i really dont know , but that might explain the differences between different colonies.

Personally besides the portuguese i have also specimens from Spain ; Tunisia ; Greece and Italy and they are all different.

Kind regards

Jose Bento ( Portugal )
Hello Jose,

Thanks for these informations. Effetively friends of mine collected this specie in the same conditions you talked about in your area. Though it seems that in France the specie favour much deeper waters starting deeper than 20m. I have datas from 25m to 40m. My cousin found a very fresh dead huge one in 28m near crevices. During these 2 years we dove from 10 to 20m night and day and we never saw any specimen, even dead. But we spoted hundreds of <i>lurida</i> and <i>spurca</i>. I do think in my area the species live much deeper.

All the  best,
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