young, 3.6 mm
Vellicola muscarius (Gould, 1859)
|Maximum size: 6 mm.
a relatively thick, translucent-yellow shell with
strongly developed spiral striae on its apex and base. The columella is
white with a prominent fold. Mature animals are brick-red with scattered
white spots. Immature animals have variably developed brick-red flecks
and attenuate white rosettes. It may be distinguished from Vellicola sp. #13 by its
thicker shell and prominent spiral striae. It may be distinguished from Vellicola sp. #15 by its brick-red color and attenuate rosettes.
Natural history: Vellicola muscarius is a moderately rare
species found in rocky habitats at depths of < 1 to 18 m
(< 3 to 59 ft). It occurs at moderately protected to moderately
exposed sites. Shells have also been found in sand samples from Halimeda kaneloana beds to depths of at least 52 m (170 ft). (Note 1)
Maui, Molokai, Oahu, Kauai, French Frigate Shoals and Midway. Probably widely
distributed in the
The shells of this species are very similar to the shells of Atys muscarius illustrated in
Okotani's Marine Mollusks in Japan (2000). Atys tortuosa
Reeve, 1878 may be a synonym. It's illustrated in Severns, 20ll as #10, plate 190 (misidentified in the caption as Hamineobulla kawamurai--caption switched with #8, plate 190: Vellicola muscarius). Shells are present in various mixed lots
at the Bishop Museum.
3.8 mm: Mala Wharf, Maui; July 22, 2005.
Observations and comments:
1: Shells found in sand samples from Halimeda kaneloana beds are typically more strongly inflated than shells from animals found in rocky habitats. (see photo) Since we have yet to see live animals from the Halimeda kaneloana beds, there's some chance that they might ultimately turn out to be a second species.