Taxon profile


Umbilicated Cowrie
Umbilia hesitata (Iredale, 1916)

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

Scientific synonyms

Cypraea hesitata T. Iredale, 1916
Umbilia hesitata hesitata (Iredale, 1916)


Taxon in country check-lists*

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Shell solid, pyriformly ovate, ventricose, highly enamelled, whitish, besmeared with chestnut, and thickly spotted with a similar but darker coloration; base white, sides with more numerous spots more or less of a violet tinge. Aperture somewhat twisted, teeth well developed. Spire deeply umbilicated. Size: 4 inches. An extremely solid and heavy species. Much variation in colour exists and series of specimens can be graded from the typical dark chestnut through to light shells with few markings. Albinos sometimes appear and are known as howelli Iredale, 1931. A smaller (3 inches) dark form with a distinct ventral blotch is called beddomei Schilder, 1930.
Macpherson, J.H. & Gabriel, C.J., 1962. Marine Molluscs of Victoria.


Localities: Victoria: Cape Schanck; Gippsland coast; dredged Bass Strait. Known for many years as Cypraea umbilicata Sowerby, 1825, a preoccupied name, this shell was first obtained in quantity by the trawler Endeavour while dredging in Bass Strait. It also occurs off the southern New South Wales and Tasmanian coasts. South-eastern Australia appears to be the metropolis of this handsome cowry; worn specimens occasionally wash up on the beaches but living examples are generally secured through trawling operations, the principal source of supply.
Macpherson, J.H. & Gabriel, C.J., 1962. Marine Molluscs of Victoria.
Author: Jan Delsing

Included taxa

Number of records: 3

subspecies Umbilia hesitata beddomei (Schilder, 1930)

Umbilia hesitata beddomei - 000000000111

subspecies Umbilia hesitata howelli Iredale, 1931

Umbilia hesitata howelli - 000000000111000

subspecies Umbilia hesitata suprastrata Govaert, Deprez & Vandenberghe, 2015

Links and literature

EN Galli C.: WMSDB - Wolrdwide Mollusc Species Data Base July 10, 2013 [] [as Umbilia hesitata (Iredale, 1916)]
Data retrieved on: 23 November 2013

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