Chelycypraea testudinaria

Testudinaria, the common Turtle Cowrie, is  widely diffused in all the Indo-Pacific area, mainly Philippines. It features an unmistakable pattern and shape. Size varies from 60 to 145 mm. Here you can see 3 specimens: the first is 143.2 mm long but also very wide, from Alistair Moncur in Antwerp Shell Show, many years ago; the second is 137.5 mm from Quiquandon; the third - inserted just for size comparison - is 70 mm, chosen among dozens in a stand of the Pilipino Pistang in Mabini Street - Manila.


Mauritia mauritiana

Mauritia mauritiana is another of my favourite cowries. It can be found in almost all Indian and Pacific Oceans' areas: Philippines, Hawaii, India, Thailand, South East Africa. It is a heavy and massive shell. Large specimens with clear round "lacunae" on dark brown background are very attractive. This species lives in rough seas and often has chipped tips, growth lines or other signs of a difficult sea life. When gem and with a smooth, shiny dorsum it is a real pleasure for the eyes. Hawaiian specimens are larger an nicer than the average. Here are displayed 2 large Hawaiian shells, 107 and 102 mm, and a little Philippine shell, 64 mm, everyone chosen for their superb pattern and quality. The 2 Hawaiian are respectively from Michel Mangum - an excellent scuba diver and a chatty e-mail mate, living in Oahu - and from Raybaudi's collection. Some years ago I sold an impressive 117 mm specimen to Quiquandon for it had slightly scuffed tips and a discontinued drawing. It lasted one day in the Philippe's web pricelist before flying away.

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