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Focus on W African endemic cone shells
12-18-2017, 12:29 PM, (This post was last modified: 12-18-2017, 01:14 PM by JackSullivan. Edit Reason: Add pix )
RE: Focus on W African endemic cone shells
(12-01-2017, 11:21 AM)JackSullivan Wrote: When I started collecting I nearly bought everything I saw that caught my eye. I haven't done a count but I must have at least 200-300 species of Conus with multiples of some. The logistics of curating such a large collection have had the desired effect of absorbing much of my 'free' time.

My fascination with the highly variable shell pigmentation of Conus mercator & its close relatives Conus belairensis & Conus cacao from Senegal has resulted in my narrowing my field of interest to the endemic cone snails of Senegal, Cape Verde & the Canary Islands.

My collection of 30+ C. mercator shells is intended to study the variation of size, shell structure & pigmentation of this species as well as its geographic range. I am doing the same for C. cacao, which has similar pigment patterns but a slightly different geographic range. WoRMS claims that C. cacao is a synonym of C. mercator while they appear to have different ranges & different coloration but very similar pigment patterns. I want to study these shells in my lab & come to my own conclusion on this question.

As part of my study I have ordered a lot of 18 shells belonging to these species from a dealer in Portugal . Gonçalo Rosa is owner of Atoll Specimen Shells & so far has provided me with prompt & excellent service on pricing & shipping updates. He has quite an inventory of shells of all types.


Conus mercator & Conus cacao are closely related. I have 50 examples of the former & 8 of the latter in my collection. This evening I copied the location data from their labels.

Conus cacao comes from Ndayane & Mbour in the Thies Region of Senegal, 80 km south of Dakar. All the Conus mercator come from the area around Dakar. So the 2 species are separated by quite a stretch of Atlantic Ocean. They are also physically distinct, as you might expect from populations that evolved separately from a common ancestor. Yet surprisingly the WoRMS data base states that Dr. P. Bouchet at the Natural History Museum in Paris has recently decided that they are the same species.

I have pdfs of several scientific papers as recent as 2017 that identify C. mercator & C. cacao as closely related but distinct species on the basis of DNA data.

The first 2 attached pix from the left are 2 examples of C. cacao. The third & fourth are C. mercator.


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RE: Focus on W African endemic cone shells - by JackSullivan - 12-18-2017, 12:29 PM

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