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Penion mandarinus (Duclos, 1831)

Description: The NSW form of this species (which is illustrated on this page) has shouldered whorls, concave above the shoulder, convex below. Whorls sculptured with spiral ribs, 12-15 on the penultimate whorl, with finer riblets between. Spire whorls bear axial folds which degenerate into elongate nodules on the shoulder of the later whorls; 14-16 nodules on the body whorl. Inside of outer lip lirate, columella smooth. Anterior canal length about half the length of spire; canal slightly recurved. Colour white or fawn externally, white internally. Periostracum thin, frequently absent on early whorls. Operculum corneous, leaf shaped.

Size: Up to 190 mm in length.

Distribution: Endemic to Australia; Trial Bay, NSW, to western half of Great Australian Bight, WA, including Tas.

Habitat: In NSW known from 18-594 meters, most commonly deeper than 100 meters, but occurs in the lower littoral in SA and Tasmania. Ludbrook (1984) reports the habitat in South Australia as living in sand under or near rocks on reefs.

Synonyms: This species varies widely over its geographic range and with depth. The shallow water form (Fig. 3) is relatively broad, and has been known as grandis Grey, 1839. Shells taken from deep water (Figs. 1,2) are narrower, with a longer canal and are lighter in colour than shallow water specimens. They have been called waitei Hedley, 1903; this is the form most commonly encountered in NSW. Intermediate between these forms is levifida Iredale 1925 (Fig. 4). The smooth shouldered, shallow water form (Fig. 5) which occurs in western Victoria and South Australia has been known as oligostira Tate, 1891. A similar smooth form from southern NSW (not illustrated) was named oligostira spectanda Iredale, 1929. The species is dealt with in detail by Ponder (1973).

Remarks: The egg capsules are described by Smith, Black & Shepherd (1989, p. 862).

Figs. 1,2: Off Bermagui, NSW, in 160 fathoms (DLB3002)

Fig. 3: Black River Beach, Tasmania (C.087179)

Fig. 4: Twofold Bay, NSW (C.087196)

Fig. 5: Port Macdonnell, South Australia (C.041847)

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Copyright Des Beechey 2000