Spectacularly broad wings combined with equally superb colouration makes the “Loebbecke’s Murex” one of the pinnacles of exquisiteness among not only the muricids but all molluscan shells. Widely recognised as one of the most sought-after muricids of all, it was selected tas one of fifty “Rare Shells” by S. Peter Dance (1969). One of Dance’s favourites, he described his impressions of the specimen from Natural History Museum, London as “the loveliest, most exquisite natural object he had ever seen. Its image is still fresh in his memory and will not easily be effaced or dimmed” (p. 75). Its distribution range is quite wide in the western Pacific, from central Japan to the Philippines to Queensland, Australia. A carnivorous and predatory gastropod, it inhabits hard substrates such as reef structures in rather deep water around -100~300m. Prior to the late 20th Century it remained a very rare species mainly due to its habitat being quite deep, the main source being coral fisheries in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. However, due to the rough conditions in coral nets virtually no Japanese specimens retained intact varices. It was when tangle netting became popular in the Philippines that high quality specimens really started to become available on the market. Japanese specimens tend to have more intricate sculpture between varices, but this may largely reflect the difference between the typical shell cleaning methods employed in Japan and the Philippines. Typical shell length around 50mm, extremely large specimens may exceed 75mm. Although today only an uncommon species, specimens over 60mm with intact varices are still very rare and command high prices. The development (especially breadth) of the varices is somewhat variable among individuals. The colouration is very variable, although the typical colouration is orange, it ranges between white to pink to yellow to red; white being the rarest. The first specimen (holotype) known was in the collection of Theodor Loebbecke, a German conchologist, to whom Whihelm Kobelt dedicated this species to. – Adapted from Chong Chen’s post

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