Mystery Cypraea

Data: the shell is approximately 15.5 mm

I have a cute Cypraea from Israel ( Eilat ) which I would like to have identified . Though it superficially resembles Cypraea macandrewi its teeth and pattern are distinctive and though I compared it with all the species in the same group from the whole Indo-Pacific area with no satisfactory result ... I also asked several Cypraea experts in Europe and nobody could help except for the confirmation that the specimen belongs to an unknown (at least to them) species .

I do not collect Cypraea so I would readily sell it to anybody interested at a reasonable price for an unknown species if people contact me privately .

Thanks in advance for your help .
Cordially yours,
Franck Frydman

Send Ideas to: Franck

Positive ID: Cypraea macandrewi
There cannot be an hybridization between Cypraea macandrewi and Cypraea spurca for such a phenomenon needs the meeting of populations of two species of close origin when Cyp. spurca only lives in the Mediterranean and Cyp. macandrewi only lives lives in the Red Sea . Eduard Heiman solved the mystery of my cowry . 1° ) The dorsum shows some single small grey-violet spots ocellated with brown . 2° ) The dorsum also shows a few distinct ( not confused , not confluent ) whitish spots . 3° ) The fossula has two denticles . These elements lead to the conclusion that my specimen is a Cypraea macandrewi and its fishing locality , Eilat , confirms Eduard's conclusion . Franck Frydman



  • It is indeed a macandrewii. The expert to contact is Eduard Heiman at .Sincerely,
    Moshe E.

  • Aaaggghhh!
    It looks an Erosaria spurca! Yes, I mean the Mediterranean commonest cowry. Coming from Eilat (Red Sea) it would be one of the so-called anti-lessepsian migrant. Since I tend to be very reluctant in accepting antilessepsians, I would consider the possibility of fortuitous record. I must anyway admit that accidental import of a shell of cowry from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea would be strange ..... ?
    Marco O.

  • I do not confirm Marco's identification at the moment, however, I like to pay attention to the fact that single specimens of Erosaria spurca has been found 3-4 times at various localities in the Red Sea. Probably they fall within the category of hitchhikers not in that of Anti-Lessepsian migrants.
    Henk. M.

  • It seems to be a Erosaria marginalis melocellata Lorenz & Wiese, 1990. I have some specimen from Zanzibar Isl. (little bit different from somalian specimen) that looks like the figured shell. I don't know if the distribution of Erosaria marginalis melocellata reach so far north. I will be pleased to have some information from Mr. Mienis.
    Pasquale F

  • Erosaria marginalis does not occur in the Red Sea!
    Henk M.

  • This shell is really looks like Erosaria macandrewi form confused (confused dorsal pattern), but there are several questions we have to know before drawing a conclusion . The base of the shell in question is white although it is never white in E. macandrewi. A possible reason for this is too much light during making a picture. Could you please let me know a color of the base of this specimen?
    Ed H.

  • the base is creamy white . What about the teeth ? They seem to differ from those of standard macandrewis ... I am not sure that the shell was live taken or not for with a magnifier one can see tiny scratches on the dorsum here and there .
    Franck F.

  • it may be a dead found, not completely adult shell of E. macandrewi but sometimes (very rarely) dark colored lines near the labial teeth are absent in adult shells too. E. macandrewi is a very variable species.
    Ed H.

  • I agree with P. F. From my experience in Somalian shells, after to have see thousands of cypraea for me is one erosaria marginalis dead taken, this explains the atypical distribution
    Fabio P.

  • The dentition is close to spurca (it can't be macandrewi with such a base) but, dorsum coloration is undoubtedly close to macandrewi. My answer would be:
    Here's a hybrid : SPURCA X MACANDREWI.
    It does occur (very rarely but it occurs) , particularly, for cowries of a same subgenus. As spurca and macandrewi are EROSARIAs...
    Fabien G


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