Taxon profile


Erosaria spurca (C. Linnaeus, 1758)

kingdom Animalia - animals »  phylum Mollusca - mollusks »  class Gastropoda - gastropods »  order Littorinimorpha »  family Cypraeidae - Cowries »  genus Erosaria

Scientific synonyms

Cypraea spurca C. Linnaeus, 1758
Erosaria spurca spurca (C. Linnaeus, 1758)
Cypraea spurca var. albida Monterosato, 1897
Cypraea spurca var. atlantica Monterosato, 1897
Cypraea spurca var. dilatata Monterosato, 1897
Cypraea elliptica Gray, 1825
Cypraea spurca var. elongata Dautzenberg & H. Fischer, 1906
Cypraea spurca var. flavida Monterosato, 1897
Cypraea spurca var. inaequipartita Monterosato, 1897
Cypraea spurca var. inflata Coen, 1949


Erosaria spurca

Author: Jiří Novák

Erosaria spurca

Author: Jiří Novák

Taxon in country check-lists*

Europe: Croatia, Italy, Montenegro, North America: Puerto Rico

* List of countries might not be complete


Usually the colouring pattern is dirty white with fine variagations yellow-brown in colour on the back, but it is fairly variable, and this is the reason for several variety names as (albida, flavida, limpida, pantherina, viridula, flaveola and so on). The margin, defined by a series of little grooves, and the inferior zone are of an uniform yellowish colour pattern. Even the mantle, that usually is red-brown in colour and that camouflages this species, can assume several shades.
The protoconch sculpture, made by a thick and regular reticulum, is a characteristic one, no clear in the adults (see confrontation with Luria lurida protoconch). It is a carnivourus species, typical of the hard bottoms and, as per the other Cypraeidae, it is in the special habit to cover the shell with the mantle, so it is possible to find imaged shells dead but still bright and perfectly preserved. The male and female species are separated and there is often a remarkable difference in the sizes among one another. The female shell lays several tens of thousands eggs into egg capsules; the hatching occurs after 2-3 weeks. By day it is almost always hidden under dead corals, stones, fragments of different nature, while by night it goes out to get some food. It is a protected species.
Scaperrotta, M. ,Bartolini, S. & Bogi, C., 2009. Accrescimenti, Vol. 1. Stages of growth of marine molluscs of the Mediterranean Sea. (secondary description)
Shell obovate, more or less inflated; lips not greatly produced above; aperture slightly curved, a very little wider below; teeth rather strong, short; sides pitted; back whitish or buff, clouded and mottled with fulvous yellow, the pits and sides often spotted with brown.
Length, 30; diameter, 18 mm.
Dall, W.H. & Simpson, C.T., 1901. The Mollusca of Porto Rico.


Distribution: common all over the Mediterranean, but mainly in the Centre-Southern area, never common in the Adriatic. Habitat: this species lives under stones or into cracks from a few metres depth up to 30-40 m depth.
Scaperrotta, M. ,Bartolini, S. & Bogi, C., 2009. Accrescimenti, Vol. 1. Stages of growth of marine molluscs of the Mediterranean Sea. (secondary description)
Author: Jan Delsing

Included taxa

Number of records: 1

subspecies Erosaria spurca verdensium (Melvill, 1888)

Links and literature

EN Galli C.: WMSDB - Wolrdwide Mollusc Species Data Base July 10, 2013 [] [as Erosaria spurca Linnaeus, 1758]
Data retrieved on: 23 November 2013
CZ Pfleger V. (1999): České názvy živočichů III. Měkkýši (Mollusca), Národní muzeum, (zoologické odd.), Praha, 108 pp. [as Cypraea spurca LINNÉ, 1758]
Data retrieved on: 11 November 2013
IT Repetto G., Orlando F. & Arduino G. (2005): Conchiglie del Mediterraneo, Amici del Museo "Federico Eusebio", Alba, Italy [as Erosaria spurca (Linné, 1758)]
EN Petović S., Gvozdenović S., Ikica Z. (2017): An Annotated Checklist of the Marine Molluscs of the South Adriatic Sea (Montenegro) and a Comparison with Those of Neighbouring Areas, Turkish Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 17: 921-934 [as Erosaria spurca (Linnaeus, 1758)]
SP Prats Pi, L. (2002): Gastròpodes marins de la cala de Binissafúller, Menorca (Illes Balears), Spira, 1(2): 21-24 [as Erosaria spurca (Linnaeus, 1758)]

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