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Mesoginella turbinata (Sowerby, 1846)

Diagnosis: Shell small to medium, white or cream, not strongly narrowed anteriorly; spire low; shoulder of body whorl smooth, or with few or many, weak to strong axial ribs; aperture moderately narrow; lip thickened internally, smooth, thickest centrally; external varix present, continuing as a callus around base; weak siphonal notch present; posterior notch weak; ventral callus thin; columella with four strong plaits occupying slightly less than half the aperture, 4th plait more widely spaced.

Size: Adults 5-10 mm in length.

Distribution: Australian Museum Collection: Ballina, NSW, to south-western WA, including Tasmania .  Intertidal to about 100 metres.  Common.

Comparison: Distinguished by the folds on the body whorl when present; also smooth inside of the outer lip. The outer lip varix continues as a callous around the base, diagonally across the ventral surface to the fourth columella plait, a feature also seen in M. olivella.  (See Identification of beach specimens)

Synonymy: Marginella albina Gaskoin 1853;  Marginella pattisoni Cotton, 1944; Marginella leia Cotton, 1944. Laseron named a subspecies M. turbinata pusilla Laseron, 1948, describing it as small for the species (6.5 mm) and broader than normal (Hewish in Wilson, 1994). The range of specimens now available shows this to fall well within the range of variation.

Remarks: This species shows considerable variation in size and sculpture. The body whorl may be completely smooth, or with ribs that vary from a few near the varix to strong on all of the body whorl. It is common as a beach shell on  Sydney outer beaches. 

Figs. 1a, 2a: Between Sydney Heads in 27 m (C.316422); this is the specimen figured by Laseron (1948, fig. 1)

Figs. 1b, 2b: Twofold Bay, NSW, in 15 m (C.317006)

Copyright Des Beechey 2003