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Mitrella albina (Kiener, 1841)

Description: Shell variable in shape from relatively tall to relatively broad; spire turreted, straight in outline, aperture 1/3 of shell length. Spire whorls smooth or with irregular axial folds or nodules below shoulder. Body whorl with 3-6 short axial folds below shoulder on dorsal surface. Spiral sculpture restricted to cords on base. Aperture long and narrow, siphonal canal upturned, notch deep. Outer lip with shallow sinus posteriorly, a thickened fold just before aperture; inside of lip thickened, with 7 elongate denticles. Columellar callous thick and sharp-edged in mature shell, with a few weak denticles near outer edge, and a deep groove ascending into aperture. Colour uniformly white, or fawn with white mottling, or with purple on anterior, or with irregular brown streaks or patches.

Size: Up to 17 mm in length.

Distribution: Indo-West Pacific. In Australia, from Fremantle, WA, around northern Australia to Sydney, NSW.

Habitat: Intertidal and subtidal to about 20 m. Common in the tropics, moderately common subtidally in northern NSW, rare at Sydney.

Comparison: Readily identified by the spiral groove in the aperture.

Remarks: The Australian Museum holds only two specimens from NSW; one from Solitary Islands, and one collected in the 19th century from Port Jackson.

Fig. 1: Lizard Island, Queensland (C.306510)


Copyright Des Beechey 2007