Solenosteira cancellaria (Conrad, 1846), Cancellate Cantharus 

Previously Cantharus cancellarius (Conrad, 1846)

Posted: Oct 14 2006,



Abbott in American Seashells, 2nd Ed., places this shell (#2412) on the west coast of Florida. Rehder in his Audubon Field Guide also places it in west Florida and describes it as found on rocks, reefs and jetties. As the below images reflect, all those I encountered were on sand flats. They popped up from under the sand exposed by a minus tide. I did not see any on nearby jetties.

Where have you found this shell in Florida and in what kind of habitats?


Images taken at Cedar Key, Levy County, Florida. 10-8-06

Posted on LTS Forum:

10/15/06  scotto:

I have never found this species in sand. Once I dredged it from grass, but usually found on rock, piers, jetties, seawalls, etc.

10/12/07 David Kirsh:

My catalogue says I found two fossil "Pisania cancellaria" (ID by Harry Lee) at Ft. Fisher, NC and one live on sand at low tide in St. Teresa, FL.

3/15/12 Don68:

Yesterday I found a specimen at Coral Cove that looks like this species. It was dead so it has some wear & tear, but I can't find a photo of another shell that more closely resembles it. Abbott says Florida to Texas; other sources specify west Florida.

3/15/12  B. Marshall:

I have only found this species at Cedar Key. They were found precisely in the manner in which you found them and possibly in the same area. The shoreline in front of the old Beachfront Motel is loaded with rocks and oyster clumps. I have visited the area numerous times over the last few years and have never found a living specimen in them. They are always out on the flat.

If memory serves me correct, the last time I was there with Harry, I wanted to collect a few of these. I am very sure he told me they would be out on the flat where the water is deeper. I don't recall any discussion about substrate preference. That would likely explain why we don't find them in the rocks there, if indeed the species does prefer a rocky environment. Apparently, their preference would be deeper water vs. a hard bottom!

Sorry I could not be of more help on this one.

12/21/15 Betta132:

Not sure if you're still looking for data on these, but I've found one on a small mud flat in Galveston, Texas. Unoccupied at the time, possibly dragged to there by a hermit crab. Area surrounded by scrub mangroves and technically part of a bay.

12/24/15 Harry Lee:

To David especially,
I subsequently reassigned the species to Solenosteira (Lee, 2009: 108; under species no. 520)

To Don especially,
I have never seen a living specimen in E Florida. At East meets West I considered it a Gulf of Mexico (GOM) endemic (Lee, 2010: 5).

Before the closure of the Suwannee Straits, which breached the northern neck of the FL peninsula, this species was free to roam the rest of the Carolinian Province, and it appears it did based on (1) David's find in NC, and (2) "Fossil specimens of Solenosteira cancellaria (Conrad, 1846) occasionally wash out of nearby deposits and are found in our waters. Of further interest, shells have been taken from a well drilled 30-40 ft. deep 4 mi. W of St. Augustine (Pleistocene, probably the Socastee Formation, Sagamonian Interglacial Age, 75 to 125 KYBP) .... Such occurrences cast some doubt on records based solely on dead shells ...." (Lee, 2009: 108).

To Brian especially,
The preferred habitat seems to be in/on muddy sand with seagrass cover. I dredged plenty of them in ~ 2 meters depth back in the day.

To the (anonymous) Betta132 especially,
The type locality of this species is Ship Is., MS (Conrad, 1846). Vokes and Vokes ([1984]: viii, 56, 96; pl. 14, fig. 18) record this species from the Mexican extremity of the GOM (Alacrán Reef, 50 naut. mi. N of the Yucatan Peninsula). Other documented localities, moving clockwise from TX in the GOM, include LA, AL, NW FL, Cedar Key, FL, and Tampa Bay (word of mouth). There is no record for Sanibel or Kice Is.

At the bottom of the landing page of our website there's a search engine which can be used to locate more information on S. cancellaria/C. cancellarius.

To Marlo,
Excellent feature; useful forum.

Conrad, T.A., 1846 [see Nolan, 1913]. Descriptions of new fossil and Recent shell and corals. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences 3: 19-27, pl. 1. Between Jan. and June.
Lee, H.G., 2009. Marine Shells of Northeast Florida. Jacksonville Shell Club, Inc. 204 pp. + 19 color plates. 28 May.
Lee, H.G., 2010. East meets West, a look at two Florida malacofaunas. Shell-O-Gram 51(1): 3-7. Jan.
Nolan, E.J. 1913. An index to the scientific contents of the Journal and Proceedings of The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 1812–1912. Published in Commemoration of the Centenary of the Academy, March 21, 1912. Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia. v–xiv.
Vokes, H.E. and E.H. Vokes, "1983" [1984]. Distribution of shallow-water marine Mollusca, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Mesoamerican Ecology Institute Monograph 1. 183 pp.

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