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Semicassis sophia (Brazier, 1872)

Description: Whorls shouldered; flattened or concave area above the shoulder, usually sculptured with a strong central spiral rib and several finer riblets, but smooth in some shells; body whorl rounded below shoulder, smooth except for several spiral grooves anteriorly. Spire nodules absent. Outer lip thick and toothed internally. Columellar shield smooth to strongly rugose and lirate, margin straight, raised into a flange in mature shells. Umbilicus open, false umbilicus open. Cream or white, with five or six spiral rows of squarish reddish-brown spots, which may be joined to form wavy axial streaks.

Size: Up to 87 mm, typically 70 mm in length.

Distribution: Great Keppel Is, Qld, to Green Cape, NSW. Also the Kermadec Islands.

Habitat: Taken in 40 to 110 m. Moderately rare.

Comparison: Readily separated within the genus by the sharply angulate body whorl with the flattened or concave area above the shoulder.

Remarks: Abbott (1968) considered this species to be a subspecies of Semicassis bisulcata but Cernohorsky (1978) disagrees, pointing out that both species occur in Tin Can Bay, Qld, without any intergradation. Both species also occur off Sydney, and again no intermediates are present.

Figs. 1,2: Off Sydney, 60-70 fathoms (DLB2860)


Copyright Des Beechey 2000