Are a small group, of about a dozen species; all inhabiting the Indo-Pacific area. The shells themselves are not small at all, they are rather large or conspicuously colored, or both. In fact, some species are among the most stunningly sculptured and colored shells I can think of. No wonder that as a novice collector this was one of the first groups I really got into. I still find them extremely beautiful and worth displaying.
Lambis chiragra Linnaeus, 1758
160mm. Western Sri Lanka
A large, common species throughout the Indo-Pacific, where it is very variable, but generally tends to have a pink aperture. This particular shell comes from a very special population that produces a deep violet, to black aperture. In the case of this shell the dorsum is almost white, so the contrast is just stunning. It is also rather small for chiragra.
Lambis crocata Link, 1807
132.5mm. Nocnocan Island, Bohol, Philippines.
The usual L. crocata has a brown mottled dorsum and a deep orange aperture. This last feature is invariable. For the dorsum color, there are some very nice and uncommon variations, of solid colors: brown, yellow, orange or lilac. But a shell like the depicted specimen, whith bi-color dorsum is as stunning as it is rare. This ia truly remarkable piece.
Lambis millepeda Linnaeus, 1758
126.1mm. Calituban Island, Philippines.
When I bought this shell I was a novice collector looking for a top L. Millepeda to represent the species in my collection. This was my winning candidate: With a superb, saturated purple aperture, that went all the way to the digit tips. At the moment I knew this was neither large or mature, what I did not know is that the color would fade... At least I kept a pic. of it fresh!
Lambis scorpio Linnaeus, 1758
134.3mm. Siqjor Island, Philippines
My favorite conch species! The body is actually pretty small, but the long "finger" projections, can get long. The aperture is just unbelievable, both sides are lined with dozens of thin white to yellow folds on dark violet background, the contrast is just stunning. Pictured is shell with unusually dark aperture and blue/brown dorsum. Many other color variants exist.
Lambis sp. hybrid
137.4mm. Cuyo Island, Philippines.
Apparently a cross between L. lambis and L. millepeda. I do not know if this is true, but it seems like there is a lot of hybrids within conchs. In any case these such shells can be regarded as exceptional just for their nature. The depicted shell is also a real beauty, in top condition, with perfect gloss and superb, flaring, flesh and orange colored aperture.
Lambis violacea Swainson, 1821
123mm. St. Brandon, Mauritius.
This has always been a rare shell, restricted to a remote location. Unlike some more showy Lambis species, this has a subtle, elegant beauty that makes it one of the most attractive. The interior is profuse violet. When mature, there is a patch of pink columellar callus, and orange marks on the opposite side, generating quite a contrast against the glossy ivory shell.