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SHELL ID - bobbymila - 12-06-2014

i could use some help identifying some shells that were inherited--much appreciative of the help


RE: SHELL ID - paul monfils - 12-07-2014

It appears that all the shells you are posting are from California and/or west Central America.  If you can confirm this, it will help confirm some of the possible ID's.


RE: SHELL ID - bobbymila - 12-07-2014

(12-07-2014, 08:33 AM) paul monfils Wrote: It appears that all the shells you are posting are from California and/or west Central America.  If you can confirm this, it will help confirm some of the possible ID's.
Hi there-thanks for taking the time to help-this collection - and its vast- is mostly west coast and mexico i believe-im trying to get an idea of what alot of them are-many have the place found- tide level-date found- mostly early 1960s-etc but the vast majority of the bigger ones-6 in up are uncaterogized but mostly all are great cond--any help is deeply appreciated-if you could send an email address i could send better pics- regards bob schubbe


RE: SHELL ID - paul monfils - 12-08-2014

#1 (and #3) is an Astraea shell, in the family Turbinidae.  The actual shell characteristics are difficult to discern because of the periostracum, the thick fibrous outer layer covering the actual shell.  This is probably a juvenile specimen of  Astraea undosa, but it could be a mature specimen of one of the smaller Astraea species.  If the operculum is in the aperture of the shell and you can get a good closeup image of it, that could confirm the ID since the opercula of species in this family are often very distinctive.  The operculum is a hard disc-like structure that acts as a sort of "door", sealing the aperture of the shell.  Collectors often glue the operculum to cotton and place it in the aperture in its natural position.  Also shown in this picture is part of a Cypraea tigris, Tiger Cowrie, a common Indo-Pacific species.

The box in picture #2 contains several species.  Again, ID is difficult because of the heavy coating of periostracum, plus barnacles and other encrustations.  All there is to go on is general shape, and that isn't too obvious because of the angle at which the shells were photographed.  The best shot for ID purposes is a straight-on shot of the ventral side (underside).  This best presents the shape of the shell, shows the interior color and features of the aperture, and often has less encrustation than the dorsal surface.  For example, I believe the shell at front right may be Pleuroploca princeps, one of the largest species in West Central America, but I can't be certain.  It could also be a Pleuroploca gigantea from the Caribbean side of Mexico. Here is a shot of a clean specimen, photographed as I described: 
http://www.conchology.be/?t=68&u=366700&g=f6e5a8391ab05bdf30d09808fa067762&q=999c5dceb2793cdf3f67b3fd8b9eb2cb

The three specimens front left are all Fusinus species, in the family Fasciolariidae.  The two on the left are probably the common west Mexican Fusinus dupetitthouarsi.  The third one is not that species, perhaps Fusinus panamensis. The three in the back of the box have a shape suggesting Charonia variegata, a species that is not found in western Mexico, but is found in eastern Mexico.  A good ventral view would verify this in spite of the encrustations because this species has a distinctive aperture.

The last two pictures are Spondylus princeps, the Pacific Thorny Oyster, family Spondylidae. In the background of the last picture is an Oliva, probably Oliva polpasta, but a better picture would be needed to confirm.

Sorry about all the "may be" and "perhaps", but we can probably make things more definite with better pictures.  Also, it is helpful to mention the size of the shell.  If you need my email, you can get it by clicking on my name in pink above.


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