Euprotomus aurisdianae (Linnaeus, 1758)

Euprotomus aurisdianae is known in the Marshalls from a single empty but clearly recognizable shell found at a depth of about 40m on the Kwajalein Atoll seaward reef in 1967. The Marshalls is so far out of this species' normal range (East Africa to the Philippines and Solomons) that we would have been tempted to disbelieve it except that it was one of us who found the shell. While we have seen the shells of species obviously not found here being dragged around the island by hermit crab inhabitants, we know that some or all of these are shells stolen by hermits from people who actually brought them here. Once we found a Caribbean volute inhabited by a terrestrial hermit on Kwajalein. We do know people who have purchased and imported quantities of "craft" shells from dealers in Florida and Oregon. But the E. aurisdianae was in a place where it would have been highly unlikely to have been brought in. First, it was found in the early years of sport diving here, long before people started to bring shells to Kwajalein. Second, it was deep on the steep outer slope a good 8 kilometers up the reef from Kwajalein, the closest inhabited island, and the condition of the shell was far too fresh to have possible been carried that far by a hermit crab. And it would have been a most unlikely to plant a gag shell as a joke because it would have been highly unlikely to ever have been found in that location. We can only assume that somehow, a stray larva made it to Kwajalein and developed here. We obviously do not have a photograph of a living Marshall Islands specimen.

Created 1 October 2009
Updated 22 November 2011

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