Ipsa childreni (Gray, 1825)
Children’s cowry, 14-25mm

Ipsa childreni is unusual in that it is the only cowry with ridges that extend across the entire shell. All cowries have ridges (called "teeth") that line the aperture of the shell, and in some species these teeth extend across the entire base of the shell. But only in this one do the teeth extend all the way around. This species is not particularly uncommon in the Marshalls, but to see living animals, you have to go out at night. Dead empty shells collect in the surge channels on the leeward seaward reef of Kwajalein Atoll. Sometimes fresh, still shiny shells are found on the floors of honeycombed ledges and caves along surge channel edges. It should have been obvious that they had been living up in those honeycombs, but only after divers started examining those ledges at night did the first live ones show up. Even at night, the shells are generally well inside the ledges and caves. While they can be found throughout the surge channel, they seem to prefer the lower caves and ledges near the floor of the channels, usually at depth ranging from about 10-22m. Rarely, the species can also be found at night on the slopes of lagoon pinnacles. They are quite sensitive to light, so at the approach of a diver's bright flashlight, they tend to start moving back into the darker recesses of the caves. The species is distributed through much of the Indo-Pacific with the exception of the western Indian Ocean and Australia. The species was named for John George Children, an 18th and 19th century British conchologist.

Like Annepona mariae, Ipsa childreni can have the whitish granules embedded in the sides of its mostly translucent foot.

The specimen below has its nearly transparent mantle covered with simple spiked papillae partially extended around the posterior end, while the following shot shows two animals with their mantles completely extended.

Updated 1 April 2008
Updated 23 March 2016

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