The wave-beaten Atlantic coast of Africa has developed a rich array of conus species of its own. Many of these seem closely related to each other and are quite hard to distinguish without exact collection data and closer analysis. Many species are in fact very localized and endemic populations, which are now under enormous pressure due to coastal development projects, specially those originating in Cape Verde.

Conus genuanus Linnaeus, 1758

57.4mm. Guinea Bissau. Trawled in 20-50mts.

In my opinion, this is the most outstanding west african species: Shells are always colored in shades of ground colors, interrupted by ribbons of black and white dots of varying sizes, which create a stunning appearance.

Unlike most shells that turn up in the market, the depicted specimen has sharp proto, near perfect lip and body gloss.

Conus mercator Linnaeus, 1758

52.3mm. West Africa (Senegal?)

Shells from this species show a great variability in pattern, however all the shells I´ve seen over 40mm seem to have the exact same pattern as the depicted shell, which is pale yellow, with a fine brown net and white tents. Shells like this seem to always come from Senegal (I´m guessing the location for this one) This is not the largest I´ve seen but definately a giant.

Conus venulatus Hwass, 1792

55.3mm. Sal Rei, Boavista, Cabo Verde. By diver 4-5mts.

This is an extremely variable species in terms of color and pattern. The shape seems to remain more constant: short, broadly conical and heavy.

The depicted specimen is of a very unusual color form: soft browns and ochres blend into lilac as they fuse with the cream-white base of the shell. Very beautiful!