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Ericusa papillosa (Swainson, 1822)

Description: Shell solid, heavy, varying from smooth to strongly axially ribbed, apex blunt. Columella with 4 or 5 strong plaits, with glaze extending half way across ventral surface. Outer lip weakly reflected externally along its entire length, and thickened internally at centre. Colour fawn, usually with two broad mottled bands of brown around centre of body whorl and a narrow band below suture, but unbanded shells are not uncommon; aperture and ventral callus orange or flesh coloured.

Size: Adults 65-152 mm in length, commonly 90-120 mm.

Distribution: Endemic to Australia; Moreton Bay, Queensland, to Fremantle, WA.

Habitat: Subtidal, 15-732 metres. Uncommon.

Remarks: This species varies widely in the extent of the axial ribbing and in the inflation of the shell. Eastern Australian shells, and deep water shells from southern Australia, are more elongate and axially ribbed (Fig. 1) compared with shallow water shells from eastern Victoria and westward (Fig. 2). The axially ribbed form was given subspecific status as Ericusa papillosa kenyoniana (Brazier, 1898), but there is continuous variation between the elongate, axially ribbed form and the smooth, shorter form. Griffiths (1974) discusses and illustrates the variations in shells from Lakes Entrance, Victoria.

Fig. 1 From fishermen at Eden, NSW (DLB1600)

Fig. 2 Off Ceduna, SA, in 20 fathoms (37 m) (DLB1599)


Copyright Des Beechey 2004