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Sassia ponderi Beu, 1987

Description: Protoconch of four tall, weakly convex whorls. Spire relatively tall, whorls angulate, with high, narrow varices every two-thirds of whorl. Axially elongate nodules at centre of each whorl, less prominent on body whorl; 4-7 in each intervarical space. Whole surface sculptured with spiral ribs, varying in size, with three of the ribs on spire whorls and 4-5 on body whorl larger than others. Outer lip of aperture with nine lirae internally. Inner lip smooth, apart from a low, narrow ridge on parietal wall. Colour yellowish-brown to greyish-brown with indistinct pale red-brown areas between nodules.

Size: Up to 16 mm in length.

Distribution: Endemic to Australia; Capricorn Channel, Qld, to Twofold Bay, NSW.

Habitat: Known from 37-296 m. Uncommon.

Comparison: This species is distinguished within the genus by its small size, and tall protoconch with weakly convex whorls.

Remarks: Sassia lindneri Parth, 1992 is very similar to S. ponderi, but is differentiated by the author as having a protoconch "of about 3 whorls with a diameter of 1.9 mm, consistently larger than that of S. ponderi (about 1.2 mm)". Further separation characters are given as fine spiral cords and 5-8 lirae on the inside of the outer lip. The original description of S. lindneri recognises nine specimens, all worn, from Crowdy Head to Batemans Bay, at depth of 91-150 m. Given the small amount of material it remains to be seen if this species is distinct, or if it falls within the range of variation of S. ponderi.

Figs. 1,2: Off Moreton Bay, Queensland, in 75-80 m (C.164982)


Copyright Des Beechey 2000