A Cypraea special: John Batt
"My interest in shells began as a child collecting many different families but over the years, I have gradually reduced my interest in many families and concentrated on my greatest passion, the Cypraeidae. Now wiser and over 30, I specialise only in cowries and have a collection of over 1,300 different species, subspecies, forms and variations. Most of all I have enjoyed collecting trips to Tahiti, Raratonga, Hawaii and most recently New Caledonia and Fiji in search of the more unusual specimens."
Mauritia mauritania Linnaeus, 1758 from New Caledonia. One specimen is very large for a melanistic mauritania at 103mm with a slightly rostrated anterior canal. The smaller specimen was self-collected in September 2003 in Goro, on the southern tip of New Caledonia between large boulders in just 6in of water at low tide. A real prize – a self-collected melanistic and rostrate specimen.
Bistolida stolida crossei Marie, 1869 New Caledonia. Set of five melanistic and rostrate specimens, the largest being 49mm, the smallest 33mm; all from Prony Bay, in southern New Caledonia, dived under dead coral slabs at 3–5m.
Nesiocypraea teramachii neocaledonica Lorenz, 2002 55mm, New Caledonia. A beautiful and very rare teramachii from New Caledonia. This specimen was trawled off Banc Jumeau Ouest on sand bottom at 300m.
Lyncina broderipii Sowerby, 1832 92mm. Dived in large rock crevice at 45–50m. A beautiful specimen of this classic rarity.
Barycypraea fultoni amorimi f. massieri Lorenz, 1991 This is a special favourite. A very nice specimen with none of the usual granulation and a fine Maltese cross and a whopping 82mm. Trawled off Quissiro on muddy sand bottom at 80–100m.
Zoila eludens Raybaudi, 1991 On the right, a specimen 67mm from the original batch of shells collected at Exmouth, NW Australia. The specimen on the left is a newly acquired shell from South Murion Island, Exmouth, dived inside sponge on limestone reef at 22m.
Zoila friendii friendii Gray, 1831 W. Australia. Close up of six of a great set of 15 variations of this species including a semi-golden specimen from the Ludwig Gabielli collection. This specimen is pictured in the Monograph of the Living Zoila by Felix Lorenz.
Zoila jeaniana aurata Raybaudi, 1979 W. Australia. The first specimen is a hump-backed specimen at 90mm, the second an 88mm shell with dorsal spotting and the third is a 60mm dwarf. All were trawled by Taiwanese fishermen in the late 1970s.
Zoila ketyana ketyana Raybaudi, 1978 Another shell trawled by Taiwanese fishermen off Point Quobba, W. Australia at 125m. The shell on the right is Zoila ketyana batavierensis Lorenz & Morrison, 2001, dived off Kalbarri on sponge at 35m.
Umbilia armeniaca Raybaudi, 1993 The typical specimen of 100mm from the Great Australian Bight; the U. a. brunnea is from Port Lincoln, dived on sponges at 50–60m.