AUSTRALIAN COWRIES: PART II.
By Tom Iredale.
(By Permission of the Trustees of the Australian Museum.)
Since the publication of the first part (Vol. viii., pp. 96-135, 1935), there
has been continued progress with our information regarding Cowries, from
intensive collection in Australia, and from the publication of a complete
resume of the Cowries of the world gained from study of European Museum
collections alone. This resume has appeared in the Proceedings of the
Malacological Society of London (Vol. xxiii., pp. 119-231, 1938-39) under the
title of "Prodrome of (sic) a Monograph on Living Cypraeidae", by Drs. F.
A. & M. Schilder. Obviously there must appear many discrepancies in
results achieved by these very different methods of approach, and attempt
at reconciliation is here undertaken.
The Drs. Schilder (husband and wife) have been working on dead
Cowry shells for almost twenty years, and have examined about 60,000
specimens from 2,200 localities, about eighty (80) public and private collec-
tions being searched, while the literature, extending to some 2,500 papers,
has been catalogued. Such a mass of information is now made available
to all workers, and nothing but praise must be given to the authors for this
excellent research. This must be emphasized as otherwise my many
criticisms may be misunderstood.
The emendations now offered are mainly the result of local field ex-
perience, and are all intended to be constructive, as the basis prepared by
the Schilders is a very complete foundation. My own taxonomic knowledge
enables the suggestion of some alterations, but the chief purpose of this
part is the recording of new facts gained in the field. For most of these I
am indebted to Messrs. H. Bernhard, A. A. Cameron, C. F. & J. Laseron, and
H. S. Mort 'for local assistance; to my colleague, Mr. G. P. Whitley, for
material from that difficult locality, Shark's Bay, Western Australia; to Mr.
Melbourne Ward, the initiator of the earlier paper, who has been very
energetic procuring a fine collection from Western Northern Territory; and
to the Rev. and Mrs. W. Chaseling, who have made large and valuable
collections about Yirrkala, Eastern Arnhem Land, Gulf of Carpentaria.
These last two collections fill in the only lacunae on the coast of Australia,
thereby paving the way for a List of the Marine Mollusca of Australia, a
desideratum hitherto impossible of accomplishment.
I am continuing these notes in the order of the previous paper, but the
Schilders have utilised a somewhat different arrangement, and in the next
part I may attempt adjustment as some appears necessary in both cases.
For a couple of centuries, Cowries have been the delight of amateur
shell-collectors, and their varied vivid coloration has caused the nomination
of very many colour-varieties. The Schilders have catalogued 165 species
only which they divide into geographical races and subraces, altogether
ignoring the abovementioned colour variations. They have, however, en-
deavoured to make use of some of colour-varietal names for these
geographical races with confusing effect. From experience, it is suggested