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WHELKS

Grouped together here are several closely-related families of carnivorous snails, including: Buccinidae, Babylonidae, Nassaridae, Melongenidae, etc. Many shells from this group are rather large and inhabit cold wters, where they develop pretty battered shells with drab colors, therefore most collectors tend to overlook them. Then there are also a good number of tropical species, which display extremely vibrant colors. Here are a few.

Ancistrolepis vietnamensis S. & G., 1990

102.9mm. South China Sea.

A beautifully sculptured whelk. The color is rather plain flesh, with a greenish, ochre periostracum. The shell has very rounded coils, adorned by evenly-spaced, deep spiral grooves.

There are several members in this genus of deep water whelks, including the more popular A. grammatus. Because they come from such depths most species are uncommon.

Babylonia spirata Linnaeus, 1758

70.1mm. Kottai, Pattinam, India.

A common, yet attractive species. This is massively exploited by the commercial shell industry. Ironically, though, large, perfect quality specimens are in very low supply and hard obtain. This species develops a bulbous, glossy white surface, adorned with a caramel pattern of dots and dashes. It can attain 3" but this is uncommon, with most shells at c. 2.5"

Neptunea contraria Linnaeus, 1771

113mm. Portugal.

This is an extremely beautiful species, that inhabits cold waters in the North Eastern Atlantic. The coloration is rather subtle, ranging from brown to white, or cream. The shell is naturally left-coiling, and has rounded body whorls with a very round apex. Because these are usually trawled in deeper water, large, perfect specimens are somewhat uncommon.

Clivipollia fragraria Wood, 1828

28.9mm. Tolangaro. S.E. Madagascar.

A stunningly patterned, gorgeous little shell, that only rarely exceeds 1" in lenght. The latin name stands for strawberry. 

Euthria rolani Cosel, R. von, 1982

32.4mm. Cabo Verde.

An uncommon deep water species, with a restricted range. This is heaavy and bulbous, with a deep violet apperture.

Nassarius papillosus Linne, 1758

41mm. Portlock, Oahu, Hawaii.

A common, striking tropical Pacific species. This has very glossy and sculptured surfaace, covered with evenly-spaced rounded knobbs.

Phos senticosus Linne, 1758

46mm. Andaman Sea.

A delicately-sculptured tropical species. The surface is finely ridged, and has a texture that reminds of lace.