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CONUS - INDIAN OCEAN

The vast bassin created by the continents of Africa and Asia, comprises a very varied group of shells, some of which have a much larger distribution throughout the Pacific. Others are endemic, and occur only in some small stretches of sea, or off the idyllic beaches of the many pristine island worlds that sprinkle this tropical paradise.

Conus barthelemyi Bernardi, 1861

71.2mm. Souris Chaude, Reunion. Dived in 55mts.

This endemic species comes in several shades of orange and red, ocassionally varying also into a darker wine hue. Such is the case of the depicted specimen, which really stands out in a group of more common plain red specimens (which are also quite beautiful) This shell is also large and beautifully patterned.

Conus legatus Lamarck, 1810

52.6mm. Reunion Is.; W. Coast.

A most attractive and uncommon member of the textile cone complex. This is widespread in the Indo-Pacific region, but rarely encountered by divers. There appears to be a giant form in Reunion Island, where this normally small species can attain a shell over 2" in lenght, such as the giant in this collection. This is also unusually dark and pustulose.

Conus zonatus Hwass, 1792

63.1mm. Raya Island, Phuket, Thailand.

Another of my personal favorites. These shells are usually slate gray, with a series of closely-set reddish spiral ribbons define areas of white dashes.  Good quality is uncommon.

The shell shown here displays superb dark pattern, and mostly unspoiled surface, particularly in the spire area which is rare.

Conus bengalensis Okutani, 1968

126.7mm. Racha Is. Andaman Sea. Thailand. trawled 80mts. 

One of the "glories" of the cone world: The Glory of Bengal cone is similar to gloriamaris, but much more slender. Although not anymore considered a great rarity, shells exceeding 5" care still considered giants and uncommon. These will always stand out in a place of beauty among seashells.

Conus milne-edwardsi clytospira Melvill & Standen, 1899
 

138.5mm. Madras, India.

The legendary Glory-of-India cone, one of the most famous and coveted species of all time. This is a very large and slender cone species, capable of exceeding 7" in lenght. Even today with all the shells coming into the market, it is still hard to find a perfect large example. The depicted shell is average size only but it displays a beautiful pattern.

Conus ranonganus de Motta, 1978

100.4mm. Andaman Sea. Trawled in about 100mts.

A spectacularly patterned and noble species, with a tall, slender shape, high spire and rather large size for the genus. This species used to be extremely rare until recently, when shells started to turn up more frequently from trawlers. Large, perfect examples of this species are still uncommon and somewhat expensive.

Conus c. thailandis de Motta, 1978

69.8mm. Racha is. Thailand.  

A northern subspecies of the famous Saffron Cone (Conus crocatus) This is usually heavier, with a more deltoid shape, and more angled shoulder - the color scheme is similar with larger white tents on burnt sienna background. It is restricted to Thailand, where the species is moderately rare. The depicted specimen is a large one.

Conus vicveei Old, 1973

86.4mm. Mergui Is. Myanmar. Trawled in about 80mts.

Another glorious rare species that has recently become more available thanks to Thai trawling vessels working in the Andaman Sea. This species is large and globose, with very shiny surface (typical of the Textilia genus) the base color is lilac-brown, with a fine reticle of fine white zig-zag lines. Perfect, alarge and dark examples are still valuable.