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"Aesopus" spiculum ( Duclos in Chenu, 1846)

Description: Protoconch of 1 smooth whorls, with abrupt transition to sculptured teleoconch. Spire convex in outline, whorls turreted, aperture 1/3 shell length. Whorls sculptured with spiral threads, 10-15 on penultimate whorl; first 3 or 4 teleoconch whorls with axial ribs producing beads at intersections with spirals. Outer lip sinuous in profile, thickened externally, with weak sinus posteriorly; 8 or 9 elongate denticles internally in mature shells, lowermost an elongate ridge beside siphonal canal. Columella smooth; elongate denticle on parietal wall. Siphonal notch narrow, deep. Colour uniformly pink, white or fawn, or pink with white band at suture, centre of body whorl and anterior end; protoconch often pink.

Size: Up to 15 mm in length, mature shells usually 8-11 mm.

Distribution: Indo-West Pacific; in eastern Australia, as far south as Sydney.

Habitat: Intertidal and shallow subtidal. NSW specimens all beach collected. Common in the tropics, rare in NSW.

Synonymy: Synonyms are Columbella cumingi Reeve, 1859 and Aesopus cumingi var. queenslandica Hedley, 1913.

Remarks: The sculpture within the aperture is only developed in mature shells, which are a small minority of specimens seen. Many specimens of 10 or 11 mm in length are immature.

Fig. 1: Briggs Reef, off Cairns, Queensland (C.304633)


Copyright Des Beechey 2007