“The “Lister’s Conch” is a magnificent and famous strombid with a noteworthy history. The first known specimen belonged to John Tradescant of London in the early 17th Century and was illustrated by Martin Lister (its namesake), which Thomas Gray used in his description making it the holotype. It remained unique for a short while but Mrs de Burgh, one of two famous British collectors of the time, acquired another specimen and not knowing about Gray’s description had Sowerby II describe it as Strombus mirabilis (1870). Until more specimens turned up in the second half of 20th Century it remained elusive and one of the most sought-after shells of all, and was thus listed as one of S. Peter Dance’s 50 “Rare Shells” (1969). As it is quite distinctive from all other strombids its taxonomic placement has been controversial, and in 1998 Gijs Kronenberg erected a new monotypic genus for it: Mirabilistrombus; the name of which is sublimed from that well-known synonym by Sowerby II. The holotype is supposed to be deposited in the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow, Scotland; but hwow John Tradescant acquired it in the first place is enigmatic till this day. With deep trawling and dredging it is only uncommon today, although specimens with original operculum is quite scarce. A herbivorous gastropod inhabiting sandy bottoms of moderately deep water around -40~150m, its distribution range is from northwest Indian Ocean to Bay of Bengal and recently extended to Arafura Sea; most specimens originate from either Myanmar or Thailand. It is a little-varied species and the typical shell length is around 130mm, very large specimens may exceed 160mm.” – extracted from Chong Chen’s post.

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