King Helmut or Flame Helmut - Printable Version

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King Helmut or Flame Helmut - Jeff D - 04-17-2017

Hello Everyone, this beauty was observed in the shallow water of Holguin, Cuba. I have seen conflicting info on the internet, regarding the differentiation of these two species. I would much prefer to lean on the experts here, who's wealth of knowledge, would yield a believable ID. Thank you in advance, Jeff

RE: King Helmut or Flame Helmut - paul monfils - 04-17-2017

Hi Jeff,

This appears to be a flame helmet, Cassis flammea. The size of the specimen would be helpful, to rule out juvenile characteristics. However, I'm assuming this isn't a young juvenile, and is at least 4 inches in length? The first picture shows the shape of the base very well, and if this is a mature shell, then it is not Cassis tuberosa, the King Helmet, in which the posterior margin of the base in mature specimens extends laterally on both sides, giving the base a triangular appearance. In mature Cassis flammea, the posterior edge of the base is smoothly rounded, like this one. Also, although the color patterns of both species are quite variable, your second picture shows very nicely the flame-like pattern that gives this species its name, as well as the smoothly curved outline of the base. Also, while this isn't listed in the books, I find that the large dark spots along the left side of the base in C. flammea are clearly separated into two groups - 2 spots anteriorly and 3 or 4 spots posteriorly. This can be clearly seen in your 3rd and 4th pictures. In C. tuberosa there is usually less separation between the anterior and posterior spots.

Regards, Paul

RE: King Helmut or Flame Helmut - Jeff D - 04-17-2017

Can't thank you enough Paul. You are indeed correct, this specimen was much larger than 4 inches, being twice that size. My mistake for not mentioning that.

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