CYPRAEA MAURITIANA - 74mm - This is a "Wreck Cowrie", found in the FLORIDA ISLANDS about 15 miles East of Guadalcanal across the strait known as Iron Bottom Sound, at a depth of 30 feet on a sunken WWII Japanese ship. The Mauritiana is a dark reddish-brown color on the dorsal, a result of the iron oxide being absorbed into the calcium of the shell. The last photo shows this somewhat rare phenomenon in contrast to a normal Mauritiana.
WRECK COWRIES: This Cypraea Mauritiana is a fairly scarce and uncommon "wreck cowrie", a dark melanic reddish-brown, sometimes black, color variant, caused by the absorption of the iron oxide into the shell, from its rusty habitat. The darkest and greatest degree of melanism occurs when the cowrie grows from a young juvenile into an adult, all the while living on the wreck. Many times the iron oxide blisters the normal pattern of the dorsal. This very handsome Mauritiana has no blisters. Cowries shy from daylight and are attracted to the darkness found in a sunken vessel. They feed at night, traveling a surprisingly long distance about the reef or ocean floor before returning at dawn. T are many sunken WWII era ships in the Pacific, especially in the Solomons. When wreck diving, it was always very special to find a melanistic cowrie.
A note regarding my shell collection: In the years 1973-7
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