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Conus sponsalis Hwass in Bruguiere, 1792

Description: Shell light to medium in weight. Body whorl convex in upper half, concave below, with fine, nodulose ribs on lower half. Shoulder rounded to angulate, weakly to strongly nodulose. Spire low to moderate height, concave to convex in outline, usually eroded. Spire whorls finely nodulose, flat or concave. Aperture narrow. Colour variable; usually two spiral bands of reddish-brown axial flames, sometimes merging into a continuous band; base and lower end of columella purple. NSW specimens usually weakly patterned with an indistinct central brown band, or unpatterned bluish-white.

Size: Up to 34 mm in length, typically 15-20 mm.

Distribution: Indo-West Pacific. In NSW, as far south as Sydney.

Habitat: Intertidal, and down to 100 m. Abundant in the tropics, decreasing in abundance to the end of range.

Synonymy: Conus nanus Sowerby, 1833 is based on a lightly patterned colour form, which is the form most frequently found in NSW.

Fig. 1   One Tree Island, Queensland (C.388966, both specimens)


Copyright Des Beechey 2004