A group of sand-dwelling molluscs, that is very popular with shell enthusiasts. Almost all species have smooth, highly glossy shells, that enable the animal to glide into the sand. The genus Oliva is actually shaped like an olive. The shapes are pretty uniform, what varies most is the color schemes and pattern. Allthough most species are easy to obtain, there are a few rare exceptions. Pictured here are some of my favorites.

Amalda rubiginosa

Swainson, W.A., 1825

67mm. East China Sea.

A frequently trawled, yet spectacular shell. This specimen is fresh, fully displaying the beauty of its red-brown lacquer colored spire.


Amalda similis

Sowerby, G.B. II, 1859

59mm. Bazaruto Island, Mozambique.

A very pretty, distinct species, with chocolate-milk streaks on the main whorl, deep purple columella and dark brown callous in the spire.


Amalda tankervillii

Swainson, W.A., 1825

69mm. Chacopata. Venezuela.

A rarely available venezuelan endemic. This is beautifully banded in creamy white and shades of golden yellow, pink and orange.


Amalda v. herlaari

P.L. Van Pel, 1989

98.3mm. Arafuara Sea, North Australia

Stunning large species: the main body is tan, with bands of white, pink and orange. The shoulder and spire callous is burnt caramel. 


Oliva efasciata

Dautzenberg, Ph., 1927

53.9mm. Pohnpei, Micronesia.

Gorgeous olive! creme anglaise, with violet-wine dashes. Bought many years ago from a micronesian dealer. Today a valued treasure!

Oliva lamberti

Jousseaume, F.P., 1884

53mm. East Diamond Is. Qld., Australia

One of my favorite olives. Pictured is the most saturated, richly colored in blue and orange shell I have seen.

Oliva m. marrati

Johnson, C.W., 1910

89.2mm. Olango Is., Palawan, Philippines.

A very elegant form of O. miniacea. This is solid dark brown, with the typical soft orange mouth, that contrasts beautifully.

Oliva multiplicata

Reeve, L.A., 1850

41.2mm. Taiwan Strait.

A species that  is usually patterned in greys. Color forms are uncommon. The red shell shown here is truly unique and outstanding.

Oliva porphyria

Linnaeus, 1758

108.1mm. Loreto, Baja California, Mexico.

The undisputed king of the family, and one of the most gorgeous of all shells. Pictured here is a medium-sized, perfectly formed example.

Oliva rubrolabiata

Fischer, H., 1903, "1902"

41.9mm. Wallis & Futuna. Vanuatu.

A classic, rare, localized species. Pictured here is the even less seen Wallis form, with banana colored dorsum and brown zig-zags.

Oliva tisiphona

Duclos, P.L., 1845

51.5mm. La Isleta, Margarita is. Venezuela.

A very beautiful, seldom seen shell. It is plump and heavy. The color is mud-green, with yellow tents outlined in dark brown

Oliva i. oldi

Zeigler, R.F., 1969

47.4mm. Port Vila, New Hebrides

Pictured here is an exceptionally beautiful specimen, creamy yellow base and tents with a greenish brown, barred reticle.