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Cone Shells in Seychelles

Cone shells are considered the most beautiful shells in the world, and on the beaches of Seychelles you may find them washed up, normally empty.

While alive, their shells are even more beautiful and delicate. However, you are best off leaving them undisturbed: Cone shells may inject you with a nasty poison, and some are outright deadly. So unless you really know what you are doing, don't pick them up. Leave them alone and just watch them going about their deadly business of spearing small fish.


Check the internet on "cone shells" and you may find some interesting facts. Perhaps you will also enjoy bringing a field guide or reference book about shells and molluscs? You'll be very busy on Seychelles' beaches then.




The following 2 books contain some good information:
Marine Shells of the Seychelles Alan Jarret book
The Manual of Living Conidae Röckel, Korn & Kohn

Both are recent and are a good bibliography to start with. Unfortunately these two books offer a different list concerning Seychelles cone shells species. The one from A. Jarret shows 56 species and Röckel, Korn & Kohn one 80.

It should be noted in addition that even if the Marine Shells of the Seychelles is the most recent book, the information inside was collected a long time ago while Mr Alan Jarret was living there. He started the book but never finished it. Much later, he decided to publish his huge work. At the time he gathered the information, he had poor information about deeper species from 20-60m as scuba was not as common as today. And I guess he and his mates did not have the chance to get their hands on all the species there. That's why there is a huge difference between the books.

But, Seychelles are unique and may not own all the species listed in The Manual of Living Conidae though. I can take the example of Conus textile, Linné 1758. It seems that this species is not present there... Mr Jarret did not list it and I never collected this usually very common species... And it shall be present when you read the The Manual of Living Conidae. Meaning the right number is not known yet (and may not be for many more years) but shall be between 60 and 80.

Another important thing: Seychelles islands like French Polynesia are spread over a wide territory (115 islands) meaning that islands can be separated by huge distance. And like French Polynesia, Seychelles Islands may vary a lot depending of the islands you study. The most known and visited (dived) islands are Inner ones (Mahe, Praslin, La Digue, Curieuse, Silhouette, Ile du Nord, Félicité, Marianne, Grande Soeur, Petite Soeur, Cousin, Cousine, Frégate, Aride,...) and they all are made from granite rocks (shown on any local postcards). At the same time you may have coral islands (still Inner Islands) like Denis Island (Far & North of Praslin) and Bird Island.

Much farther, you may reach Outer Islands which may be Atolls :
- Coetivy Island
- Amirantes Group : Remire, D'Arros, Desroches, Etoile, Boudeuse, Marie-Louise & Desnoeufs
- African Banks : Banc Africain & Ile du Sud
- St.-Joseph Atoll
- Poivre Atoll
- Alphonse & St.-Francois Atolls : Alphonse, Bijoutier & St.-Francois
- Farquar group : Farquar Atoll & Providence Atoll
- Aldabra group ("close" to Madagascar) : Aldabra Atoll (which has many endemic species, like birds, fishes,... maybe seashells, and is a protected Natural Reserve by UNESCO), Cosmoledo Atoll, Astove & Assomption

The farther islands are less visited and seashells there have not been studied that much, meaning that some species may only live on these far wild islands and one must reach these quiet spots to try to get their hands on all species...



Cone shells listed in A. Jarret's Book

Conus ammiralis C. arenatus Conus aureus Conus auricomus C. aulicus C. bandanus

C. betulinus Conus bullatus C. canonicus C. capitaneus C. catus C. chaldeus

C. coronatus C. crocatus C. cylindraceus C. distans C. ebraeus C. episcopatus

C. figulinus  C. flavidus C. frigidus C. geographus C. gubernator C. imperialis 
C. legatus C. leopardus C. litteratus C. litoglyphus C. lividus C. luteus

C. maldivus C. miles C. miliaris C. mitratus C. moreleti C. namocanus 
C. nussatella C. obscurus C. omaria C. parvatus C. pennaceus C. pertusus

C. quercinus C. rattus C. sanguinolentus C. sponsalis nanus C. striatellus C. striatus
C. tenuistriatus C. tessulatus C. tulipa C. varius C. vexillum C. violaceus

C. virgo C. zeylanicus  C. zonatus

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