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Exomilopsis spica (Hedley, 1907)

Description: Protoconch tall and prominent. Teleoconch elongate, of 4-6 whorls, spire straight-sided, whorls angled, aperture of shell length; shell strongly angled at base. Sculptured with 8 strong axial ribs, ending at basal angle on last whorl, crossed by 5 spiral cords, forming beads at intersections. Six spiral cords on base. Outer lip almost straight in profile, with no posterior sinus; slightly expanded, thickened internally, smooth or with several denticles. Columella callus smooth. Anterior canal moderately long (for the family), slightly upturned, forming a contraction in outer lip. Colour fawn.

Size: Up to 7.5 mm in length.

Distribution: Recorded from NSW, Tasmania and SA.

Habitat: Subtidal, 100-240 m. Rare.

Comparison: Similar to Gatliffena fenestrata, but the protoconch is taller, the shell more elongate and the sculpture more coarse.

Synonymy: Originally described as Mangilia spica Hedley, 1907 in the Turridae, but transferred to Exomilopsis in the Columbellidae.

Remarks: This species remains poorly known one hundred years after it was described by Hedley in 1907, with only seven specimens being present in the Australian Museum collection in 2007. Hedley (1922) gave the following records: Type: 80 fathoms off Narrabeen, NSW; 100 fathoms off Wollongong, NSW; 100 fathoms, Cape Pillar, Tasmania; 110 fathoms, Beachport, SA; 130 fathoms, Cape Jaffa, SA. The only additional record from the Museum collection now is 55 fathoms off Cape Borda, South Australia.

Fig. 1: Off Cape Borda, SA, in 55 fathoms (100 m). (C.026001)

Copyright Des Beechey 2007