Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

Reticulate Cowry-helmet, CYPRAECASSIS TESTICULUS

from the November 6, 2011 Newsletter, notes from Mayan Beach Garden Inn 20 kms north of Mahahual, Quintana Roo, México

On our last hike up the beach last Sunday we came upon a kind of seashell I'd not seen yet. You can see that it was especially colorful and interestingly formed above. A bottom view showing its numerous "teeth" is shown below:

Reticulate Cowry-helmet, CYPRAECASSIS TESTICULUS, bottom view

Someone in our group said that it was an Emperor's Helmet and I mentioned that when I sent the pictures to volunteer identifier Bea in Ontario. Soon Bea was back saying that the helmet part was right but not the emperor. It's the Reticulate Cowry-helmet, CYPRAECASSIS TESTICULUS, a member of the Helmet and Bonnet Snail Family, the Cassidae.

Having the name, now I could look for more information about it.

I find that its preferred habitat is rocky shores bordering the Atlantic Ocean's warmer regions from North Carolina south to northern Brazil, and along the African coast as well.

And that was my last discovery to report resulting from my six-month stay at Mayan Beach Gardens half an hour north of Mahahual, Quintana Roo, Mexico.