SHELL OF THE MONTH – NOVEMBER 2015

achatideaCypraea achatidea Sowerby, 1837 Trawled by fishing boats 50m, mud and sandy bottom, Dakar harbor, Senegal 2006
Cypraea achatidea Sowerby,1837 – the Agate Cowry – is a seldom seen attractive mid sized cowry.  It is usually trawled in moderately deep water. Its scarcity in collections is due to its range which goes from the western Mediterranean down along the cost of Africa.  Mediterranean specimens are almost impossible to attain. Most offered come from Senegal.
The shell is pyriform, light in weight with fine indistinct teeth on a whitish base.  The dorsum is banded in immature specimens but this gets covered over in adults and is hardly visible. The adult dorsum is cream, freckled and mottled with brown. The shell is quite consistent in color and size with the main variation being the degree and intensity of mottling. The size is typically around 35mm.
Scientists placed Cypraea achatidea in the genus Schilderia. It is the one and only species.  The African specimens are named Cypraea achatidea longingua Sch & Sch 1938 however many dealers prefer the name Cypraea achatidea inopinata Sch 1930.
This specimen is donated by Richard Kent and was acquired from an Italian dealer who specializes in cypraea.