30 December 2007
Below are a few shells common to Southern California,
BUT you most likley have never seen them.
The Winged Murex
Pteropurpura Trialata Trialata
Around the world the murex shell is represented by hundreds of different species. In Southern California we have several species, The Leafy Thorned Murex, The Nuttalls Murex, The Frill Winged Murex and others. It is somewhat difficult to exactly identfy exactly which is which in this group without a guide. I have also found that the experts sometimes do not agree which is which. The features to look for in the local group of Murex is three frilly wings, Size range from about one inch to about three inches, Color: from all white to white with brown bands (pictured above). Found on and among rock in depth from ten feet to about two feet deep. The book lists then as a common shell in Southern California: however,
I have only ever seen a few of them in 30 years of diving.
Solander's Triva shell
The Solander's Trivia (also known as the Coffee bean and the Sea Button) was first identified in 1832.
This shell is often thought to ba a "Cowrie", It looks simmiler in shape but really falls into the "Trivias" catagory.
The Solander's Trivia is a small shell topping out at about 3/4 of an inch.
Some of the experts have written that the Solander's Trivia is beyound sport diving depths, However I have often found them in less then thirty feet of water in Laguna and Catalina. I find the empty shell buried in the sand at the edge of a rock reef where the sand and rocks meet. This shell is listed as a common shell. I believe that to be true, Common but not seen. you have to fan away the sand near the rocks to find them.