Cowries and their relatives of southern Africa

A study of the southern African Cypraeacean and Velutinacean gastropod fauna

The cowries and their relatives are among the most strikingly beautiful and enigmatic molluscs inhabiting the Earth’s oceans. Southern Africa, with its diverse tropical and temperate marine environments, supports an endemic cypraeacean (families Cypraeidae, Ovulidae and subfamily Pediculariinae) and velutinacean (families Velutinidae, Triviidae and subfamily Eratoinae) fauna that is among the world's richest. Most previous studies of these two superfamilies have been limited solely to their shells, with little discussed about their biology, natural history and evolutionary relationships. Cowries and their relatives of southern Africa redresses this, providing information on their morphology, developmental biology and biogeography, higher systematics and phylogeny, generic subdivision, systematics of the endemic species, their predators, as well as conservation concerns. Phenomena such as mimicry and aberrations in shell morphology also receive attention.
Although the primary objective of this study was to concentrate on formerly poorly known species endemic to southern Africa, Angola and Mozambique, detailed accounts of Indo-Pacific and West African taxa are also provided. The more than one hundred species accounts in the book are accompanied by lucid, colour-accurate photographs of shell and animal variation. Many of the species treated were discovered and described during the past few decades. Other more widespread species were recorded from the southern African region for the first time. Since the book first appeared in 1989, sufficient new information and material became available to warrant consolidation in an updated and enlarged second edition (2000). Improvements in printing technology have notably enhanced the original high-quality illustrative plates. New supplementary text accompanied by 86 new photographic images and illustrations are contained in the main body of the book and its appendices. A full-colour bound addendum entitled: "A new species of Cypraeovula occurring off the northern part of the Eastern Cape, South Africa, with notes on possible genetic relationships and oceanographic influences on its distribution" (2001), has increased the second edition from 224 to 232 pages, providing fresh insight into several fascinating and little-known species. With aspects of the taxonomy having changed somewhat over the years, the book still continues to be a valuable and irreplaceable reference source within this intriguing branch of malacology.

The second enlarged edition of this comprehensive regional monograph contains:
More than 65 detailed black-ink and coloured-pencil illustrations; numerous black-and-white photographs and scanning electron micrographs; over 700 colour photographs showing rarely seen living animals and their shells; photographs of the Cape coastline and its subtidal reefs.
The book contains a map of southern Africa with localities referred to in the text; individual distribution maps for the endemic species; and a comprehensive glossary and detailed bibliography of the literature cited.

  • A comprehensive glossary.
  • A detailed bibliography of literature.
  • A striking high quality laminated dust-jacket with French-folds and spot varnished detail.
  • Book dimensions: 22 35 cm.; 232 pages (including eight-page addendum).
  • Retail price: ZAR 320 / Euro 28 / GBP 22 / USD 33, excl. postage.

To download the Cowrie book mailer CLICK HERE

PO Box 372
Noordhoek 7979
Cape Town,
South Africa

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Cypraeovula castanea subsp. latebrosa Cypraeovula connelli
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Cypraeovula iutsui subsp. atlantica (R. Nieft \ B. de Bruin) Volva volva (D. King)
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Trivia goslineri / T. debruini Phenacovolva weaveri
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Ovula ishibashi (D. Herbert) an assortment of southern African Cypraeidae
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Luponia castanea (Higgins' historical plate - 1868 )