Lord Valentia's Cowrie

Leporicypraea valentia

This spectacular species of cowrie is even rarer than the Golden Cowrie. It was first described in 1811 by George Perry in his large illustrated work ‘Conchology or the Natural History of Shells’ a copy of which resides in the Queensland Museum’s Rare Book Library. Perry named the shell after Lord Valentia who supposedly obtained it from ‘Amboyna’ (in present day Indonesia). In the 19th Century only a few specimens were known and the range of the species was very uncertain. Although many more specimens have been found in recent times, it is still rarely seen outside of specialist collections. The specimen held by the Queensland Museum was collected by submersible craft at a depth of 116 metres at the northern end of the Great Barrier Reef (Torres Straits) by a CSIRO survey team and donated to our collection.

Distribution is from the Philippines to Australia.

Lord Valentia’s Cowrie  (Leporicypraea valentia), dorsal and ventral views of the specimen in the Queensland Museum Collection Lord Valentia’s Cowrie (Leporicypraea valentia), dorsal and ventral views of the specimen in the Queensland Museum Collection

George Perry’s (1811) illustration of Lord Valentia’s Cowrie which accompanied his description of this species (Perry’s rare volume is held in the Rare Book Collection of the Queensland Museum) George Perry’s (1811) illustration of Lord Valentia’s Cowrie which accompanied his description of this species (Perry’s rare volume is held in the Rare Book Collection of the Queensland Museum)

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