Sultana snails represent, in my opinion, the noblest group of all South American landshells. For decades most species have remained extremely elusive and seldomly seen in collections. Most of these large and colorful arboreal species come from remote high altitude cloud forests, where they hide in very low densities and are very seldomly encountered among the thicket. To add up to their rarity, many species have a very limited range in the northern Andes, particularly Ecuador, Peru and Colombia.

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Sultana adamsoni Gray, 1833

86mm. Altiplano Cundiboyacense. Colombia.

Another view of this magnificent specimen, of perhaps the most superb Colombian species of Sutana, which has not been reported alive in decades. (please remit to LANDSHELLS - COLOMBIA 1, to se other Colombian Sultanas)

Sultana kelletti Reeve, 1850

66.6mm. Loja Province. Ecuador.

This is a truly legendary species of snail, which can grow to almost 4 inches, and displays a gorgeous wavy pattern and superb purple lip when fresh. It is largely restricted to Southern Ecuador, where similar species are reported.

Sultana latevittata Shuttleworth, 1856

74.9mm. Moyobamba. Peru.

A gorgous shell in the Sultana yatesi complex [this species, together with S. labeo, sublabeo and vicaria were synonimized as Sultna yatesi yatesi (Pfeiffer, 1855) by Richardson, 1993] the tight relationship between them is certainly evident.


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Sultana labeo Broderip, 1828

87mm. Chachapoyas. Peru.

In 1985, Richard Goldberg published an article in the Shells and Sea Life magazine (link below) which positioned this as the rarest - or at least the most coveted - landshell.

Sultana sublabeo Ancey, 1890

95mm. Molinopampa. Peru.

An extremely large and breathtaking species, with gorgeous black wavy lines on a greenish, golden, polished surface, which reminds of the finest antique greek pottery. When fresh, it has a thick violet lip; The contrast is superb.

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Sultana vicaria Fulton, 1896

73.9mm. Leymebamba. Peru.

A very elegant form, with its cream-beige background and contrasting dark violet-brown lip. Despite being rare, this was for long the most available form of S. yatesi, the others being in such high demand that obtaining them was impossible.


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Porphyrobaphe irroratus

Reeve, 1849

69mm. Los Puentes. Ecuador.

A cryptic-colored species, such as is usual within this group of deep forest snails. This has an exquisite texture and white lip.

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Porphyrobaphe iostoma

Fulton, 1896

83.2mm. Minabe. Ecuador.

The famous purple lipped Sultana is the commonest species from Western Ecuador, where it prefers dry forests.

Porphyrobaphe saturnus

Pfeiffer, 1860

71.4mm. Azuay. Ecuador.

Many collectors seem to confuse this very rare species with the common P. iostoma. This is the real saturnus, with decidedly brown lip. 

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Sultana sultana

Dillwyn, 1817

72mm. Sucumbios. Ecuador.

A large, plump, paper-thin shell, which is widely distributed in Central and South America, but rarely encountered.