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Muricopsis purpurispinus Ponder, 1972

Description: Protoconch of 1 1/2 whorls. Teleoconch whorls with varices which appear as axial folds when worn; 5-7 on body whorl, 7-8 on penultimate whorl. Whole surface sculptured with spiral ribs; on the body whorl, 5 fine ribs between suture and shoulder, five major ribs between shoulder and base with a secondary rib between each, and one strong rib at base with three secondary ribs above and two below. All spiral ribs produced into short, open spines on varices, usually worn off. Weak axial lamellae cover the whole surface. Aperture with inner lip produced beyond columella; outer lip extending beyond varix, with five strong denticles anteriorly. Anterior canal recurved. Colour pink or fawn.

Size: Up to 18.5 mm in length.

Distribution: Endemic to Australia; southern Qld to Sydney, NSW.

Habitat: Taken as beach shells, and down to 137 m. Uncommon.

Remarks: This is a delicate, finely sculptured shell when in good condition, but the majority of specimens have the ornamentation worn away. The original description indicates that the spines are purple-tipped, hence the specific name, but the present author has not seen this colouration in the few good specimens examined.

Fig. 1,2: Off Cape Byron, NSW, in 100 m (C.348731)


Copyright Des Beechey 2000