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Cypraea caputserpentis Linnaeus, 1758

Description: Teeth coarse, restricted to aperture. Sides thickened, with a sharply angled intersection of sides and base. Centre of base fawn, outer edges of base and sides dark brown. Dorsum speckled with white spots on a brown background.

Size: Length up to 43 mm. NSW shells are generally large, about 35 mm.

Distribution: The entire Indo-West Pacific region, from east Africa to the Cocos Islands, off Central America. In Australia, known from Albany, WA, to Shellharbour, NSW.

Habitat: Intertidal and shallow subtidal, under rocks and in crevices, or sometimes exposed. Abundant in the tropics, uncommon in NSW, but the most common cowry found around Sydney.

Figs. 1,2: Long Reef, Collaroy, NSW (C.075444)

Fig. 3: Myora, Stradbroke Is., Queensland (DLB4997)

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Copyright Des Beechey 2000