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Pyrene punctata (Bruguière, 1789)

Description: Shell solid, spire strongly convex, sometimes turreted, whorls rounded; aperture about half shell length. Axial sculpture absent; spiral sculpture restricted to about 10 strong cords on base of body whorl. Outer lip of aperture sinuous with wide, shallow sinus posteriorly; thickened externally, and in the centre internally, with up to 10 denticles. Columella sharp-edged, with 3-7 denticles in very mature shells. Anterior canal not upturned, siphonal notch shallow. Colour very variable; background white, often a brown band interrupted with large white spots below the suture; tan axial zigzag streaks, patches or tent markings.

Size: Up to 25 mm in length.

Distribution: Indo-West Pacific; in Australia, Abrolhos Islands, WA, around northern Australia to Yamba, NSW.

Habitat: Intertidal, under rocks or coral, and down to about 5m. Common in the tropics, uncommon in NSW.

Comparison: See Pyrene flava.

Synonymy: Synonyms are discors Gmelin, 1791; filmerae Sowerby, 1900; rhombiferum Roding, 1798; semipunctata Lamarck, 1822; zelina Duclos, 1835.

Remarks: The specimen illustrated in Fig. 1 is unusually pale in colour, but it has been chosen because it has the protoconch and spire intact; these are usually broken off. Fig. 2 shows a typically coloured but beachworn specimen.

Fig. 1: Caloundra Head, Queensland (C.416513)

Fig. 2: North Solitary Island, NSW (C.373593)

Copyright Des Beechey 2007