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CONUS - SOUTH EAST ASIA

This area is a crossroads between the Indian and the South Pacific oceans. It is characterized by the very fractured coastline, composed mainly of islands. Unsurprisingly, this tropical habitat is very rich in cone species. The Philippine Islands in particular is considered the richest place in the world when it comes to molluscs. It is there that many species that were formerly rare and unobtainable, started becoming available.

Conus n. victor Broderip, 1842

62.4mm. N. Lembata Is. Indonesia. 2-3mts. on sand.

Probably the most sought-after and famous form of nobilis. Until recently, large specimens of this stunning shell were worth a fortune. For the moment it is quite available, but probably not for long, as this species appears to be endemic to a small, now probably over-collected area. Even by today standards, this specimen is a superb giant.

 

Conus thomae Gmelin, 1791

92.9mm. Balut Island, Philippines. From tangle net 150mts.

A very elegant and formerly very rare shell, that has always drawn attention from collectors. Most are obtained by tangle nets in Balut Island, where they come from deep water.

The depicted shell is a dark giant. It is solid cream, with a much desired dark brown and bluish pattern, perfectly developed into all its complexity. A super masterpiece! 

Conus n. skinneri da Motta, 1982

61.3mm. Bali, Indonesia. On sand in 12mts.

One of several named forms of Conus nobilis, a species which is widely spread in SE Asia, but is  not common, except localized (and now over-exploited) populations.The depicted specimen is a real giant for this stunning form, characterized by having white tents on sienna background, overlaid by dark brown ribbons, which also bear tents.

 

Conus gloriamaris Chemnitz, 1777

137.3mm. Sogod, N. of Cebu. Philippines. From tangle nets 50-100mts

The so called Glory-of-the-Seas! This is arguably the most famous cone shell, and formerly the most coveted of all seashells. It truly is magnificent: with its large size (it may exceed 6") straight sides and smooth body whorl, adorned with a fine tent pattern. Today it is readily available; but shells that combine large size, beauty and perfection remain rare.

Conus excelsus Sowerby III, 1908

84.8mm. Balut Is. Philippines. From tangle net at 450mts.

The rare and sought-after Illustrous Cone. It is a very elegant species, with a spire that almost mirrors the body whorl in shape and size. Shells are white with a web of light brown markings and light ochre spiral bands: an overall discreet combination, made even subtler by the fact that the shell feels relatively small and light when held. An outstanding cone species!