The “Princely Volute” is a very handsome volute and a famous collector’s item coveted once ago for rarity and today for its endless variability and beauty. One of S. Peter Dance’s 50 “Rare Shells” (1969), it was known from a single specimen of unknown origin until Hugh Cuming, the ‘Prince of Shell Collectors’, discovered its home ground in southern Philippines where it is endemic to and brought specimens back to the Western world in 1840. It remained scarce, however, until mid-20th Century; and today it is only uncommon. A predatory gastropod inhabiting sandy bottoms of relatively shallow water around -5~50m, it is extremely variable in pattern, form, and colouration. Usually recognised for irregular patterns of diffused red, but specimens with well-defined pattern or even completely solid red are known. Typically not so angulate with sloping shoulders, but many develop very strong shoulder spines. Several subspecies and forms have been named; some recently recognised as full species. Also very variable in size, the typical shell length is around 110mm but giants occasionally exceed 170mm. – Adapted from Chong Chen’s post

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