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Conus chusaki da Motta 1978

This beautiful shell with its orange inner aperture was described by António José da Motta in 1978 as Conus chusaki. But there has been some contention as to whether the name is valid or should be regarded as a synonym. Kohn considers C. chusaki to be a synonym of Conus striatus, which was described by Linnaeus in 1758 (Systema Naturae, 10th ed., No. 277, p. 716). He also regards Conus floridus ("Flower Cone") as synonymous.

In Thesaurus Conchyliorum, Sowerby describes C. floridus under the entry for striatus (No. 345, pp. 39-40), where he says it is a "delicate rose-colored var., see Frontispiece, f. 558." But there, the shell is identified as C. floridus. Sowerby then adds a notation on species "accidentally omitted from their places" (p. 47), this time describing No. 345 as floridus and distinguishing it from C. striatus.

All this presumably accounts for the confusing variety of names: C. floridus Sowerby II 1857, C. striatus floridus Sowerby II 1858, C. chusaki da Motta 1978, C. striatus chusaki da Motta 1978, C. striatus floridus chusaki da Motta 1978, and C. floridus chusaki da Motta 1978. In fact, the name is not accepted by the World Register of Marine Species; rather, the shell properly is C. striatus (Linnaeus, 1758).

Da Motta's holotype is in the Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle (Geneva) and was found in the Raya Islands off the southern coast of Phuket, Thailand. The shell pictured above measures 50 mm.

References: "Six New Cone shells (Gastropoda: Conidae) from Thailand" (1978) by A. J. da Motta, The Centre of Thai Natural Study, 2(1), Suppl. 1-8; Thesaurus Conchyliorum, or Monographs of Genera of Shells (1866) edited by G. B. Sowerby (Vol. III); "Those New Cones from Thailand" (1979) by Edward J. Petuch, Hawaiian Shell News, 27(7), 3-4 (with reply by da Motta); "Why Are So Many New Cone Names Invalid?" (1983) by John K. Tucker, Hawaiina Shell News, 31(7), 3-4; "The Species Described by da Motta and Co-workers" (1984) by John K. Tucker, Hawaiian Shell News, 32(2), 5-6; The Conus Biodiversity Website (Alan J. Kohn, Principal Investigator).

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