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Interesting Strombus pugilis from Eleuthera

On 2/13/2021 8:15 AM, Scott Robichaud posted to Conch-L:

I have been going to Eleuthera often on for the last 25 years. I have been there maybe eight times and last year was the very first time that I found Strombus pugilis. I have found this species both diving and snorkeling on a dozen other Caribbean islands but seemingly never in the Bahamas. I found one live specimen while snorkeling  off Cape Eleuthera, And I found one dead specimen washed up on a beach near Governors Harbour. I know a lot of you out there in the shell world have been to Eleuthera many times and I was wondering what your experiences were with Strombus pugilis in Eleuthera.

Harry Lee responded:

Your living specimen of Strombus pugilis may be a hapax legomenon!

No Bahamas record appears in Malacolog 4.1.1 <> (Rosenberg, 2009) and Redfern (2013) does not mention it in his exhaustive treatment of the marine malacofauna of Abaco.

Over half a dozen forays from the 1970's & 1980's, I collected NW Eleuthera and saw neither hide nor hair of a Fighting Conch.

On the other hand, I know the species well, and I've looked at its multispiral protoconch. This morphology reflects a significant planktonic larval stage. Thus, unlike the Horse Conch, which does not reach the Bahamas in large part because of its life history (crawl-away spawn), there has to be another explanation, not unlikely involving oceanic current patterns.

In any event, your report should be a clarion call to serious collectors to  put a lens to this potential colonization-in-evolution.

Shell collectors matter!

Thanks for sharing,

Redfern, C., 2013. Bahamian Seashells: 1161 Species from Abaco, Bahamas., Inc., Boca Raton, FL. 501 pp.
Rosenberg, G. 2009. Malacolog 4.1.1: A Database of Western Atlantic Marine Mollusca. [WWW database (version 4.1.1)] URL

Scott replied:

Thanks for the interest Harry,

Both fighting conchs are a little unusual from the typical pugilis that I’ve gotten another Caribbean islands.

They look more like Strombus alatus than pugilis.

They are orange not brown, but all the spines are short and all the same size just as they are on an alatus from Florida. And no they are not broken. But the aperture is flared up like pugilis, not down like alatus.

Typically on a pugilis specimen The second row of spines is much bigger than on the rest of the shell but certainly not on these specimens.

I’ve never collected anything quite like these.

Bob Fisher asked:

do you have photos that you can share of pugilis and alatus and location collected?  

Marlo suggested:

I’m with Bob.  We need pictures.  If you send me a few image files I’ll post this conversation and your photos on LTS so everyone can easily link-in. 

Scott sent images:


Scott Robichaud commented:

"It conchologically appears more similar to a (Florida) west coast alatus."

Robichaud Fighting Conch_0953.jpg
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