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Mitrella intexta (Gaskoin, 1852)

Description: Shell tall and narrow (for the genus), spire straight sided, aperture about 1/4 of shell length; early whorls flat, later whorls usually slightly concave at top quarter. Protoconch of 1 smooth whorls. Spiral sculpture of cords on base; axial sculpture absent. Outer lip sinuous in profile, with shallow sinus; lip flared or thickened externally; a little thickened internally, with 6-8 denticles. Columella callus sharp-edged in mature shells, smooth. Siphonal canal very short. Colour variable with several predominant patterns: (a) uniformly white, fawn or tan (b) about 3 axial tan bands per whorl on white background (c) white spots in quincunx pattern. Periostracum smooth.

Size: Up to 14 mm in length.

Distribution: Endemic to Australia; Clarence R., NSW, southwards to Bermagui, NSW.

Habitat: Intertidal and down to 26 m. Most specimens beach collected. Uncommon.

Comparison: This species is the most tall and slender of the southern Australian Mitrella group. The closest species is M. menkeana, which is broader and larger. In M. intexta the latter whorls are concave at the top, particularly the body whorl, serving to distinguish it from M. menkeana. The two species barely overlap in range; M. intexta occurs in northern and central NSW with a southern limit of Bermagui, while M. menkeana occurs in southern Australia, reaching up to Jervis Bay.

Synonymy: None

Fig. 1: Cronulla, Sydney, NSW (C.208814)

Fig. 2: Variation

Copyright Des Beechey 2007