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Hipponix conicus (Schumacher, 1817)

Description: Shell limpet-shaped, variable in height, apex position variable from central to near but not overlapping rear margin. Sculptured with very strong rugose axial ribs. Margin irregular, conforming to substrate surface, crenulate on outer edge. Interior with horseshoe shaped muscle scar, open anteriorly. Exterior colour fawn, interior white or tan.

Size: Up to about 18 mm in length.

Distribution: In eastern Australia, occurs in Queensland and NSW, as far south as Newcastle.

Habitat: Lives on other gastropod shells.

Comparison: This species has a heavier shell with fewer but stronger ribs than H. australis.

Synonymy: See the remarks under H. australis for the confusion of names in this genus.

Remarks: This is a northern Australian and perhaps Indo-West Pacific species, with a southern limit of Newcastle, NSW. The other NSW species, H. australis, is a southern Australian shell, with a northern limit of Eden in southern NSW. Thus there is a gap of 500 km in central NSW with neither species occurs.

Some specimens in the Museum collection remain attached to host shells of Turbo, Strombus, Terebra or Conus; some host shells appear to have been collected alive, and some with hermit crabs.

Fig. 1: Heron Island, Queensland (C.080095)

Fig. 2: Newcastle, NSW (C.011647)


Copyright Des Beechey 2007