This blog is a electronic museum of my collections of antiquities, ethnographic, first editions, retro pottery from the 1950's to early 1970's, shell, mineral and gemstone samples,fossils and other wonderful things! Comments are welcome on the objects including advice which will add to my own wonderment and knowledge.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Unusual Specimens of Cowrie Shells, Mbabanga Island Solomon Islands


These shells are a great example of how shells can have extreme local variants to the normal run of the mill shells of the same genus/variety.

The shell at the top is Cypraea mauritania (Dragon's Head Cowrie). These are common and in all the time I have been collecting shells ( I specialize in Cowries and Cone Shells), I have never seen one as heavy and as large as this one. Weighing in around 200 grams and around 8 cms in length.

The shell to the lower left is a Variant/Mutant patterned Tiger Cowrie (Cypraea tigris). The shell to its right is a 'normal' Tiger Cowrie. The difference is remarkable I am aware that there can be variants but I have never seen one with stripes!

The collection area is abundant with food for these shells (they are plant/algae eaters/grazers). These specimens were found in a sea-grass meadow on the leeward side of Mbabanga Island, Solomon Islands.


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