The “Lyre-formed Lyria” is a beautiful classic rarity among the volutes endemic to east Africa ranging from Somalia to Mozambique, with majority of specimens coming from Kenya or Somalia. One of S. Peter Dance’s fifty “Rare Shells” (1969), it was truly scarce until the mid-20th Century. Today it is still a rare and coveted shell especially in live-taken condition; although a good amount were brought into the market from Somalian and Kenyan fishermen decades ago this seems to have stopped today and most specimens available on the market are from old collection. A carnivorous gastropod inhabiting sandy to muddy bottoms, its bathymetric range is around -10~200m from subtidal to moderately deep water. Typical shell length around 100mm, giant specimens are known to exceed 140mm. Typical of genus Lyria, this species also has a horny operculum but specimens complete with operculum is very rarely seen. Its form is quite variable from the slender and fusiform shown here to a much wider and robust form; the colour is also somewhat variable, for example some specimens only carry various hues of orange. – Adapted from Chong Chen’s post

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