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VASES & SPINDLES

Grouped in this page are two families of carnivorous snails that are less popular with collectors in general, but still have some worthwhile highlights. Pictured here are just a few that are among my favorites. Spindles are mainly represented by long, fusiform shells of the genus Fusinus, which are not pictured here. Vases are associated with the genus Vasum; but there is also the extremely beautiful pagoda shells Columbarium not represented here.

Latirus infundibulum Gmelin, 1791

74.6mm. Sanibel Is. Florida. USA.

This is my favorite spindle. The shell can reach between 3 and 4" It lives at moderate depths near reefs. The overal color is burnt orange, with dark sienna spiral ridges. The shape can be fairly regular or attractively angular as in the specimen shown here. This particular specimen comes from a rther unusual location. It is much more common in the Southern Caribbean.

Peristernia reincarnata Snyder, 2000

37mm. Calituban Is. Philippines.

A dramatically colored, gorgeous little shell: The base color is orange, with dark colored vertical grooves. The apperture is colored in a contrasting bright purple. This species inhabits rocks on coral reefs, and tends to be covered with calcareous deposits. Shown here is a perfectly clean, very large specimen.

It is hard to find a shell as pretty as this one.

Pleuroploca clava Jonas, J.H., 1846

129.1mm. Kayal, Pattinam. India.

The genus Pleuroploca contains larger, bulkier species of spindles, usually with complex patterns. This particular species occurs in the Northern Indian Ocean, and used to be fairly rare and unobtainable a few years ago. Today a perfect, bright colored specimen like the one shown can be occasionally found in the market. Still a very desirable shell.

Altivasum flindersi Verco, 1914

161mm. Bunburry, West Australia.

Considered a rare deep-water rarity, the spinny form of this shell can grow large fronds and attain a massive 7"+ size. This combined with the bright salmon orange color makes this an extremely desired species. Pictured here is a shell that was trawled dead and is of lower quality, but still presents nicely. Large, higher quality specimens remain very expensive.

Vasum cassiforme Kiener 1841

95.1mm. Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil.

An uncommon, very spinny and heavy Brazilian endemic, which can produce a solid white, as well as a deep violet parietal shield, like the pictured example. Unfortunately, this color tends to fade into a more discreet purplish brown. Such was the case with this specimen, pictured when it was very fresh.

Vasum tubiferum Anton, 1838

80.6mm. Coron Is. Palawan, Philippines.

A very attractive species from the central Philippines. It can reach 4". The depicted shell is not large at all, but it is fairly unusual to find one as superbly sculptured as this individual, with most having more discreet spines and larger white areas on their surface. This specimen has very long, inward-curling spines, which form a superb crown.