The “Regal Thorny Oyster” is a glorious spondylid native to the western Pacific, ranging from Japan to Philippines. It is an exceedingly famous species and collector’s item due to its large size, long spines, and gorgeous colouration; chosen by S. Peter Dance as one of his 50 “Rare Shells” (1969). Used to be a very rare species until the 20th Century but today it is a common shell, to the extent that it is often seen sold as home decoration. Giant or exceptional specimens, however, are still much prized and fetch high prices. Most specimens are reddish in colour with pale spines but uncommonly wholly orange specimens (as shown) are found, and rarely also yellow ones. Specimens from deep water often have very long spines which may be spatulate and undulating at tips, as well as more fine spines between the main ribs. This form has been given the name Spondylus cumingii Sowerby II, 1847, now considered a synonym of S. regius, and these are also much favoured by collectors. A sessile filter-feeding species living attached to hard substrates, it inhabits shallow to rather deep water ranging between -5~100m in depth. Typical shell length including spines 160mm, extremely large specimens may exceed 220mm. – From Chong Chen’s post

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