Displayed here are some of my favorite species, most are fairly decent representatives of very famous species, by no means do I intend to show them as exceptionals, after all, better specimens are readily available in the market. Still, though, even average specimens make a gorgeous display when it comes to the following selection.
Haliotis kamtschatkana assimilis Dall, W.H., 1878
116mm, 128.8mm, 112mm. Baja California, Mexico.
The Threaded abalone is endemic to the coast of California, in Mexico and USA; where over a dozen large species also occur. This species is large, capable of reaching over 6-7" and deeply cupped. The nacre inside the shell is uniform light silver. The dorsum color, on the other hand, is unbelievably variable: Pure hues of blue, green, red, orange; even white converge in endless combinations, sometimes producing stunningly gorgeous shells. The pictured shells were selected among many examples in my drawers, because they contrast beautifully.
The first one has a broad orange band running down the dorsum. This is typically the most desired feature when choosing specimens, particularly of the orange occurs over a contrasting green or blue. In this case the overall color is raiant orange, to contrast with the following specimen.
The second shell has less vibrant colors, but it´s nevertheless my most prized specimen: Dark blue-green, with a turquoise semi-moon. The scretory pores and early whorls are perfectly outlined in contrastng bright red; there is also a shower of pure white threads adorning the surface: A shell that truly challenges my imagination.
The third specimen is a smaller one, with a color scheme that is not uncommon: red zig-zags over olive surface, with tan specks. Then there is this shiny light turquoise petal that cuts the dorsum and makes it a real stand-out piece, as it contrasts with the exceptionally vibrant red on this young shell´s dorsum.
I own over a dozen of these shells, which are common and quite affordable. I could not pick only one to represent the taxa because they are so exceptionally beautiful and different from each other.
Haliotis fulgens Philippi, R.A., 1845
156mm. Baja California, Mexico.
Another very large californian endemic, capable of reaching an exceptional 10". The shell is rather flattened and elongated, with fine ribbing and colors that include brick, umber, green and turquoise. A pattern like a net of interrupted white tents can be present. The depicted specimen has exceptional condition and a perfect dark violet-lead interior.
Haliotis scalaris Leach, 1814
90.1mm. Rottnest Island, Australia.
My favorite abalone: An exquisitely sculptured shell, and quite uncommon. This is a small to medium sized, rather thin and lightweight species. The dorsum can be drab or colored like a strawberry-cream swirl, such as the pictured shell. Large and colorful, perfect examples of this Australian endemic, are hard to come by and much coveted by collectors.
Haliotis sorenseni Bartsch, 1940
148.4mm. Baja California, Mexico.
As the most sought-after, edible delicacy in the family, this species has become a critically endangered taxa. Ocassionally, shells can be obtained from old collections. These are large, deeply cupped and usually varying between shades of red and green. Large, solid red shells like the depicted specimen are quite uncommon and a valued collector´s item.