Posted: Nov 20 2012

 Conus anabathrum Crosse, 1865, Florida Cone

March 25, 2018 - A discussion on Conch-L:

Doug Thompson:

"Hello to all. On a recent kayak trip to the 10,000 islands my guide and I found a very large C. anabathram. He gave it to me so I decided to measure it. It measures 55.35 mm. I checked the WRS web site and found that the shell I have is much larger than the current record so I attempted to register it. I wanted to register it in my buddies name and return it to him with a WRS certificate as a surprise. I submitted the paperwork and two photos just like I have done in the past, but hit a brick wall. Phillipe came back to me with a message stating he could not tell if the shell was anabathram anabathram or anabathram floridensis. He asked for me to send him better photos, which I did. He also wanted me to contact Ed Petuch to see what he thought, which I did. I have been doing research on the species and found out that the shell known as floridensis is actually a synonym for anabathram and that no other species name applies. This is in spite of the fact WRS has a shell called anabathram floridensis and anabathram anabathram. I have sent photos to other collectors, all of whom agree with me the shell is anabathram and the other name is not a valid name. I have battled this before with WRS and decided to ask the cone experts in the group to comment and let me know their take. I have found Florida cones on many occasions and the person who found this one has actually found several thousand. After my long winded explanation I ask simply is C.anabathram the appropriate name for the Florida cone or is there another species that could compete for the id. This shell came from very near Marco Island, Florida in the Gulf of Mexico."

Bill Fenzan:

"I am not a cone expert, but I have studied existing West Atlantic cone types in person and have a good collection and library.  


You raise several issues.  The most prominent one seems to be “Is C. anabathrum the appropriate name for the Florida cone or is there another species that could compete for the id.”  The short answer is that this was resolved in the late 1980’s by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN).  The relevant case is #2563 which was a request to conserve the name Conus floridanus and list Conus anabathrum as nomen oblitum.  The ICZN ruled against this petition and placed C. anabathrum on the Official List of Specific Names in Zoology (Bull. Zool. Nomenclature, 46:140, 1989: Opinion 1539).  So, the answer to your question is that Conus anabathrum is the appropriate species name for “the Florida cone”.  This opinion is available free online at the Biodiversity Heritage Library.  


Since the 1989 opinion, several proposals have been made to change genera in the Conidae.  Alan Kohn in his 2014 book on Conus of the Southeastern United States and Caribbean still uses “Conus” as the genus because none of the other higher classifications recently offered has stood the test of time.  To me, this means that none of the proposals has been confirmed by other, independent, workers.  Each has a set of supporters, but no consensus has yet been forged for a single scheme.  This is why I still use the genus “Conus” for shells that others believe to be in different genera."

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