The molluscan family CONIDAE, or the Cone Shells are undoubtedly the most popular group of collectable seashells. The varied colors and patterns exhibited by these shells are immediately eye-catching. The diversity of species makes amassing a comprehensive collection a challenge for collectors.  The Conus inhabit tropical oceans around the world. They live in shallow, intertidal habitats to extremely deepwater.

·   In recent years there has been a push to subdivide the genus Conus into a more neatly defined group of genera and subgenera based on shell characteristics. This generic classification had been shunned in the past by Conidae researchers. In 1995 A.J.(Bob) DaMotta presented his definitive systematic classification of Cones (see Printed Literature below) which in recent years has been more readily adopted in the literature.

·   Due to the large number of species in the family (more than 600 species by some accounts), Cone specialists are finding it advantageous to concentrate on building regional collections of Conidae. This has helped concentrate their efforts on better learning the complexities of Cone shell taxonomy and identification. For instance, the Caribbean Conus are extremely popular with collectors due to the interesting and diverse number species that can be found in depths accessible to scuba divers. Some Caribbean species vary from island to island, each harboring its own color form, or variation of that species. It has always been a challenge to determine the identity of many newly discovered Caribbean Conus forms and their relationship to the more well-known species from the region. For Cone collectors, and particularly those specializing in the Conus from a particular region, amassing a well-documented and comprehensive Conidae collection is not only asethetically pleasing, but of great scientific importance.

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Phylum: MOLLUSCA (Linné, 1758) Cuvier, 1795

Class: GASTROPODA Cuvier, 1797

Subclass: PROSOBRANCHIA Milne Edwards, 1848


Suborder: NEOGASTROPODA Thiele, 1929

      Superfamily: CONOIDEA Fleming, 1822

Family: CONIDAE Linné, 1758

Indo-Pacific Conus back to menutop of page
Conus ammiralisConus ammiralis Linné, Thailand, 62mm; an above average size specimen; a smaller pustulose form is also found by divers at Raya Island, Phuket Ref.: Conus berdulinusConus berdulinus Veillard, 1972 - South Africa, 77mm - specimens from this area exhibit a vivid lavender/purple color. Considered by some to be a form of C. coelinae Ref.: Conus betulinus zuluConus betulinus zulu Petuch, 1979 - Madagascar, 90mm - an exceptional specimen of this endemic form Ref.:
Conus bruuniConus bruuni Powell, New Caledonia, 54.8mm; a rare species from extremely deep water; the species must live in a rough habitat since specimens always seem to be flawed Ref.: Conus bullatusConus bullatus Linné, Philippines, 57-65mm, species varies in color and pattern; these are exceptionally dark specimens. Philippines, collected by fishermen in tangle nets Ref.: Conus bullatusConus bullatus Linné, Marquesas Islands, 55mm, Fine++; a sunken spire form with an odd and beautiful color/pattern Ref.:
Conus bullatusConus bullatus Linné, Philippines, 59-64mm; this image illustrates the variability that C. bullatus can exhibit; these specimens were all taken from one locality Ref.: Conus bullatus articulataConus bullatus articulata Dautzenberg, 1937 - Vietnam, 59mm - regional form Ref.: Conus capitaneus ceciliaeConus capitaneus Linné, [form: ceciliae Crosse], Philippines, 38-40mm; some feel this form is just a subadult shell, but adult size specimens exist; a deep water heavily corded form Ref.:
Conus cervusConus (Textilis) cervus Lamarck, 1822 - Philippines, 101mm - One of Peter Dance's 50 Classic Rarities, once an ultra-rare species. Conus cervus is still rare, but specimens now surface with a bit more frequency. Ref.: Röckel, Korn & Kohn, Manual Living Conidae, Vol.1, pg. 217, no. 196, pl.44, fig. 1-4. Conus cervusConus (Textilis) cervus Lamarck, 1822 - Philippines, 101mm - The pattern exhibited on this shell is quite rare for the species. The species is taken in tangle nets set in ± 150 meters of water. Ref.: Kohn, 1992. Chronological Taxonomy of Conus, 1758-1840, pg. 205, fig. 408.  
Conus circumcisusConus circumcisus Born, Philippines, 78-83mm, this is referred to as the brazieri form Ref.: Conus circumactusConus circumactus Iredale, 1929 - Philippines, 46mm - a pustulose form that has been surfacing in the central Philippines Ref.: Conus crocatusConus crocatus Lamarck, 1810 - Philippines, 47mm - a more shouldered form occasionally compared with C. lamberti Ref.:
Conus crocatusConus crocatus Lamarck, 1810 - Solomon Islands, 55mm - taken scuba diving. A slender form with a more elevated spire typical of the forms found in this region Ref.: Conus darkiniConus darkini Röckel, Korn & Richard, 1993 - Philippines, 79mm - A superb example of this ultra-rare species. The amount and depth of brown coloration varies. This shell was taken in a tangle net set in ± 300 meters of water. The species is recorded from New Caledonia, southern Philippines, Loyalty Islands, and most recently from southwestern Japan. Ref.: · Röckel, Korn & Richard, 1993. La Conchiglia, 25(267) p.48, fig. 1-4 (orig. descrip.) · Röckel, Korn & Kohn, 1995. Man. Living Conidae. p. 153, pl.27, Fig. 22-25. · Hitoshi & Takashi, 1999. A New Record of Conus darkini Roeckel, Korn & Richard, 1993 from off Tanegashima Island, Southwestern Japan. Chiribotan 30(3). Conus dusaveliConus dusaveli H.Adams, Philippines, 86mm; once one of the great rarities among cone shells, it is now considered somewhat rare Ref.:
Conus encaustusConus encaustus Kiener, Marquesas Islands, 30-32mm; a variable, endemic species; taken by scuba diver Ref.: Conus excelsusConus excelsus Sowerby, Philippines, 79mm; needle-sharp spire; still one of the most appealing of the Conus Ref.: Conus excelsusConus excelsus Sowerby, Philippines, 89mm!; a rare species made even rarer because of the unusually large size size Ref.:
Conus floridulusConus floridulus Adams & Reeve, Philippines, 31-40mm, exquisite pustulose form; an extreme form of the species Ref.: Conus geographusConus geographus Linné, 1758 - Philippines, 125mm! - a large and exceptional specimen of the infamous killer cone Ref.: Conus geographusConus geographus Linné, 1758 [cf. eldredi Morrison, 1955] - Guam, 57mm - Juvenile specimens of C. geographus are often mistaken for the very similar C. eldredi. Though both species have an overlapping range in the Central Pacific, it is sometimes difficult to differentiate the two. Besides the general shape, C. eldredi typically have a pink ground color lacking in C. geographus. The coloration of this shell is that of eldredi, the pattern and shape make it a questionable specimen Ref.:
Conus gloriamarisConus gloriamaris Chemnitz, 1777 - Malaysia, 88-90mm - A light-colored form of the famed Glory-of-the-Seas Cone, often referred to as the "golden gloriamaris". This is somewhat of a misnomer since the ochre-yellow background color overlaid with white tents gives the shell a somewhat golden appearance. Typically this species has a medium to dark brown base color and bluish streaks overlaid with white and bluish tents. Specimens from the Solomon Ids. tend to have more bluish coloration than other locales. The so-called "golden" form lacks the bluish coloration. Once extremely rare and sough-after, Conus gloriamaris is now considered at best, relatively common, though light-colored forms are considered more uncommon. Prevelant in the Philippines, but also collected in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Indonesia, and other areas of the Western Pacific Ref.: Conus gubernatorConus gubernator Hwass, in Bruguière, Mozambique, 65-67mm, very strong and dark-colored patterns for the species. Limited to the western and central Indian Ocean from Natal, South Africa to the Maldive Island. The shape, color and patterns vary tremendously through the range of the species. Ref.: · Röckel, Korn & Kohn, 1995. Man. Living Conidae. p. 221, pl.45, Fig. 4-21. Conus gubernatorConus gubernator Hwass, in Bruguiere, Mozambique, 71mm - An exceptionally patterns specimen among the infinite range of patterns exhibited by this species. Ref.:
Conus guidopoppeiConus (Fumiconus) guidopoppei G. Raybaudi, 2005, 27mm - Type locality is Palawan, Philippines. The color/pattern varies considerably
Ref.: Visaya, Vol. 1 No. 5; p. 143-145, pl. 1 fig. 1a, b, c; pl. 2.
Conus hiraseiConus hirasei Kira, Philippines, 59mm; this specimen still retains a thin layer of periostracum. The base shell color is white. The banding is a natural part of the shell's pigment Ref.: Conus ichinoseanaConus ichinoseana Kuroda, Philippines, 58.7mm; a rather unusual specimen with one wide and one narrow band, as opposed to the typical two narrow bands Ref.:
Indo-Pacific Conus (con't.) back to menutop of page
Conus ioneConus ione Fulton, Philippines, 51mm; the species varies considerably in pattern and intensity of color; taken in the nets of fishermen Ref.: Conus ioneConus ione Fulton, Philippines, 66mm; this specimen exhibits superb color and pattern Ref.: Conus kinoshitaiConus kinoshitai Kuroda, 1956 - Philippines, 75mm - exceptionally dark patterned specimen. The species' shell color and pattern is quite variable Ref.:
Conus kinoshitai tamikoaeConus kinoshitai Kuroda, variety: tamikoae Shikama, Philippines, 55mm; a yellow form of this species, a superb rarity, with a spectacular color/pattern Ref.: Conus loroisii huberorumConus loroisii Kiener [form: huberorum daMotta, India, 56mm; an odd and rare geographical morph, more cylindrical than normal; this limited population maybe environmentally influenced causing the distortion to the shell Ref.: Conus marmoreusConus marmoreus Linné, 1758 - Philippines, 113mm - a large shell for the species; many forms of the marbled cone exist throughout the Indo-Pacific Ref.:
Conus neptunusConus neptunus Reeve, 1843 - Philippines, 64mm - this specimen exhibits the tight netted/tented pattern that is characteristic of the species Ref.: Conus neptunus colorovariegatusConus neptunus colorovariegatus Kosuge, 1980 - Philippines, 62mm - this form is essentially a darker patterned variant of the nominate species where the tented pattern becomes obscured by brown coloration Ref.: Conus neptunus colorovariegatusConus neptunus colorovariegatus Kosuge, 1980 - Philippines, 67.5mm - a rare variant; taken in tangle nets set by fishermen; an exceptionally dark specimen; depth of brown color can vary Ref.:
Conus nigromaculatusConus nigromaculatus Rockel & Moolenbeek, Red Sea (Dalhak Ids. off Ethiopia), 24mm+; do not confuse with Conus erythraeensis; this species is quite rare Ref.: Conus nobilis skinneriConus nobilis skinneri daMotta, Indonesia, 43-46mm; these were collected at the type locality off Bali; very closely related to Conus n. victor Ref.: Conus nobilis victorConus nobilis victor Broderip, Indonesia, 33mm; distinct golden form; the true golden victor from the eastern Flores Ref.:
Conus nobilis victorConus nobilis victor Broderip (golden form), Indonesia, 41.2mm; two extreme color forms Ref.: Conus orbignyiConus orbignyi Audouin, Philippines, 37-39mm; small specimens with extremely knobby shoulders; other than the knobby shoulders, both seem very close to Conus comatosa; quite for the species unusual Ref.: Conus pennaceus elisaeConus pennaceus elisae Kiener, Hawaii, 32mm; from the south shore of Kauai; a dark form endemic to Hawaii; quite uncommon Ref.:
Conus pennaceus praelatusConus pennaceus praelatus Born, Mozambique, 47-53mm; pale blue colored tents arranged in wavy axial bands distinguish this form of C. pennaceus; limited range in East Africa Ref.: Conus pennaceusConus pennaceus [form], Madagascar, 42mm - newly discovered dark mocha-brown species with fine encircling lines; the specimen is a lot darker brown than the picture illustrates; considered by some to be a new undescribed species; rare Ref.: Conus pertususConus pertusus Hwass, in Bruguiere, 1792 - Philippines, 43mm - color form exhibiting two wide pinkish-white bands on the body whorl. The species varies considerably throughout the species' range in the Indo-Pacific Ref.:
Conus proximusConus proximus Sowerby, 1859 - Philippines, 29mm - this illustrates one of two distinct forms found in the central Philippines Ref.: Conus sulcatus bockiConus sulcatus Hwass, in Bruguière, 1792 [form: bocki Sowerby III, 1881] - Philippines, 90mm - an enormous specimen. Not the largest known, but much larger than typically found Ref.: Conus tesselatusConus tesselatus Born, Philippines, 54.8mm; an above average specimen with superb color/pattern Ref.:
Conus textileConus textile Linné, 1758 - Hawaii, 81mm - a large specimen with a low corded sculpture on the body whorl Ref.: Conus textile scriptusConus textile Linné, 1758 [+ scriptus Sowerby, 1858] - Madagascar, 55mm - one of a seemingly infinite number of textile forms found in Madagascar. In a large series, a few show overlapping characteristics Ref.: Conus textile neovicariusConus textile Linné, 1758 [+ neovicarius daMotta, 1982] - Djibouti, 81mm - an endemic Indian Ocean form limited to the Arabian Peninsula and East Africa Ref.:
Conus textile panniculusConus textile panniculus Lamarck - Marquesas, 51-53mm - endemic form; one of many C. textile forms Ref.: Conus thomaeConus thomae Gmelin, 1791 - Philippines, 71-72mm - best know from the Philippines, but is found throughout the central Pacific Ref.: Conus tinianusConus tinianus Hwass, in Bruguière, 1792 - South Africa, 45mm - found commonly as beach shells along Jeffreys Bay. Live shells collected by divers are much more uncommon. Found in various colors Ref.:
Conus violaConus viola Cernohorsky, 1977 - Philippines, 34mm - taken in tangle nets set by fishermen around Cebu Island Ref.: Conus violaConus viola Cernohorsky, 1977 - Philippines, 53.8mm - a huge specimen from the central Philippines Ref.: Conus zonatusConus zonatus Hwass, in Bruguière;, 1792 - Maldive Islands, 57mm - limited range in the Indian Ocean. The species used to be more common than it is these past few years Ref.:
Western Atlantic Conus back to menutop of page
Conus bertarollaeConus bertarollae Costa & Simoni, 1997, Brazil, 22mm; recently described; the species lives far from shore on top of a sea mount; quite rare Ref.: Conus brasiliensisConus brasiliensis Clench, Brazil, 19-21mm; the species varies considerable through its range; lives in among soft corals Ref.: Conus cardinalisConus cardinalis Hwass, in Bruguière, 1792 - Belize, 25-26mm - the Conus cardinalis complex is one of the most difficult to sort out due to extremely variability and many seemingly similar species Ref.:
Conus ermineusConus ermineus Born, 1778 - Colombia, 92mm! - extremely large for the species. It rarely attains this size. Taken by a fishing trawler Ref.: Conus flammaeacolorConus flammaeacolor Petuch - Honduras (Rosiland Bank), 13-14mm - endemic to this remote group of submerged islands Ref.: Conus mappa granariusConus mappa granarius Kiener, Colombia, 60-64mm; this form was often referred to as C. sanctispiritus Ref.:
Conus mappa granariusConus mappa granarius Kiener, Colombia, 46-48mm; a beautiful pair exhibiting the typical coloration and one with an unusual orange/yellow coloring; taken by fishing boat Ref.: Conus mappa granariusConus mappa granarius Kiener, Colombia, 74mm!; an extremely large example of the species; it may not be a largest-known specimen, but it is much larger than most found these days; a real rarity at this size Ref.: Conus paschelliConus paschelli Petuch, Honduras/Nicaragua, 20-22mm; recently described; a rare species with limited range Ref.:
Conus pataeConus patae Abbott, 1971 - Bahamas, 22mm - A rather rare species found from south Florida down through the Bahamas and Jamaica in scuba diving depths Ref.: Conus phillippiiConus phillippii Kiener, 1845 [+ ernesti Petuch, 1990 - Caribbean Panama, 25mm - Petuch described this form as ernesti, a name that is now considered a synonym of C. phillippii. Ref.: Petuch, E. J. 1990. A new molluscan faunule from the Caribbean coast of Panama. Nautilus 104 57-70. Conus pseudaurantiusConus pseudaurantius Vink, 1985 - Grenada, 36mm - part of the C. cedonulli complex considered by some to only be a localized form Ref.:
Conus richardbinghamiConus richardbinghami Petuch, Bahamas, 20mm; an extraordinary example of the species, belted with white markings; taken scuba diving; rare Ref.: Conus sanderiConus sanderi Wils & Moolenbeek, 1979 - Brazil, 36mm - dredged. Also found as far north as Barbados. The Brazilian shells are often called Conus carioca Petuch, 1986. Conus hunti W.& M., 1979 is also a synonym Ref.: Conus sp.Conus sp., Colombia, 43mm; the species identification on this one has not been confirmed; it seems close to C. finkli, but the profile is too angular and surface too glossy Ref.:
Conus sp.Conus sp., Colombia, 26-32mm; this variable species has been circulating in collections with the name C. equinatus, a misspelling for echinatus, itself an invalid name. This might represent the true form of C. jaspideus, and the shells typically associated with the name jaspideus, may be an undescribed species according to some. The saying goes, with new information come new questions. This is certainly a questionable species Ref.: Conus spurius arubaensisConus spurius arubaensis Nowell-Usticke, Colombia, 76.5mm; a large, robust shell Ref.: Conus spurius arubaensisConus spurius arubaensis Nowell-Usticke, Colombia, 54mm; an unusual color and patterned shell with the spots merging into flammules Ref.:
Conus spurius arubaensisConus spurius arubaensis Usticke, Colombia, 54mm; an unusual orange-colored specimen; a number of this color have surfaced over the past couple of years Ref.: Conus spurius arubaensisConus spurius arubaensis Usticke, Colombia, 44mm; an extraordinary specimen; rarely found with such a bold pattern and dark color Ref.: Conus tristensisConus tristensis Petuch, 1987 - Colombia, 37.8mm - a superb specimen; prominent cords; lilac tinted with brown mottled band; rarely found in this color Ref.:
Conus tristensisConus tristensis Petuch, 1987 - Colombia, 33mm - another unusually colored specimen with lilac, orange and brown and prominent, closely spaced spiral cords Ref.: Conus tristensisConus tristensis Petuch, 1987 - Colombia, 35mm - an extraordinary shell with brown flammules over a heavily corded shell; an extremely rare color and pattern Ref.: Conus tristensisConus tristensis Petuch, 1987 - Colombia, 34mm - wider spaced cords than typical; uncommon pale lavender color; a rare species Ref.:
Conus tristensisConus tristensis Petuch, 1987 - Colombia, 32mm - yet another of the extremely varied and beautiful color-patterns exhibited by this species Ref.:    
Panamic Conus back to menutop of page
Mediterranean-Eastern Atlantic Conus back to menutop of page