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Lepsiella reticulata (Blainville, 1832)

Description: Shell with angulate whorls, concave above periphery, sutures indistinct. Spire whorls with a strong spiral rib at the periphery, about a third of whorl width from lower suture. Body whorl with a strong spiral rib at the periphery and four primary ribs below, becoming progressively weaker towards the base; 1-3 densely scabrous riblets between each primary ribs, and 6-8 above periphery. Strong axial folds, 8-9 on body whorl, create nodules where they intersect the spiral ribs. Columella smooth, outer lip thin, smooth internally. Exterior matt, coloured fawn, orange, red-brown or purple-grey, with nodules dark brown. Interior white or purple.

Size: Up to 18 mm in length, commonly less than 10 mm.

Distribution: Endemic to Australia; Caloundra, Qld, to Geraldton, WA, including Tas.

Habitat: Under rocks on exposed rocky shores, and in seagrass in semi-protected areas, mid to low tide level. Uncommon in NSW.

Synonym: Lepsiella botanica Hedley, 1918

Remarks: Shells from NSW and Queensland are differently sculptured to those from Victoria and southern Australia. The northern form is described above; the southern form differs by having the fine scaly riblets less prominent or absent, and the body whorl with 4-8 primary ribs. Many larger southern specimens have 5-7 lirae inside the outer lip, a characteristic rarely seen in northern shells. The northern form was named Lepsiella botanica Hedley, 1918.

Figs. 1,2: Woody Head, Iluka, NSW (C.99687)


Copyright Des Beechey 2000