A New Form of Leporicypraea mappa viridis by John Batt

If you recall in the previous issue of Pallidula I remarked within my article on shelling in New Caledonia upon an unusual population of Leporicypraea mappa viridis from deeper water on the main reef 9 miles off Noumea. This form of viridis has been known for some time but as far as I know has not been collected in recent years and has never had a name attributed to it.

I stated that I wish to propose the forma name L. mappa viridis "kanakinus" (relating to the New Caledonian native Kanak people) as an ideal forma name for these very different map cowries. I mentioned that the three specimens that I acquired on the trip differed from typical L. mappa viridis as well as from L. mappa viridis "montrouzieri" by being far more callus around the margins, having a somewhat rhomboidal shape, extending further at the canals and, most importantly, lacking the prominent dark basal blotch as always seen in the other map cowries from this area. There are no significant differences in the fossula but the teeth of "kanakinus" seem to be a brighter more solid orange than its relatives in the area. It seems to me to be a great shame that such an unusual population of this subspecies should be ignored and I firmly believe that due to its consistent differences certainly deserves a name at least for the time being at forma level. It may well represent a link between the nominate L. mappa mappa and L. mappa viridis. Pictured below are the three specimens in question showing dorsal and basal views and below them on the right hand side a typical L. mappa viridis from Guam, and on the left hand side a typical specimen of L. mappa viridis "montrouzieri", for comparison.

These three specimens were all collected by diver under coral heads at 24 - 25 metres in the late 1980's off Noumea, New Caledonia.

The new L. mappa viridis "kanakinus" differs from the nominate L.mappa mappa by its far more callus margins and extended broad flanging canals, as well as having much brighter teeth and larger more crowded marginal spotting.

Holotype: L. m. "kanakinus" 85.7mm - Collection J. Batt
Paratype 1: L. m. "kanakinus" 85.7mm - Collection J. Batt

Paratype 2: L. m. "kanakinus" 79mm - Collection J. Joseph
L. m. montrouzieri Dautzenberg, 1903
Collected under dead coral at 8 metres - Collection J. Batt

L. m. viridis (Kenyon, 1902)
Guam, collected under dead coral at 12 metres.
49.9mm - Collection J. Batt

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