species: Mauritia mauritiana in Lizard Island area: all known taxa (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Mauritia mauritiana

©Anne Hoggett: Mauritia mauritiana from Lizard Island. Shell is 87 mm long.

©Anne Hoggett: Underside of same specimen of Mauritia mauritiana. Note the strong rows of "teeth" lining the aperture.

©Barbara Banks: Mauritia mauritiana at Seabird Island, Lizard Island
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Mollusca
Class Gastropoda
Order Littorinimorpha
Family Cypraeidae
Genus Mauritia
Species Mauritia mauritiana
Status least concern



Distinguishing features

Distinctive features of this species are large size, colouration as shown, strong teeth on both lips of the aperture, and a thin black mantle. Its shallow rocky habitat exposed to wave action is also characteristic.


  • Up to 9 cm (Length of specimen) - applies to This is the maximum recorded shell length at Lizard Island.

Depth range

  • From 0 m to 1 m - applies to At Lizard Island, these cowries are found just below the water surface.



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

At Lizard Island, this species has been found only in crevices on granite surfaces in areas exposed to heavy wave action.

Local abundance

  • Lizard Island, Queensland, Australia: This species seems to be common at Lizard Island within its very specific habitat. On a calm day (11 January 2012), more than 50 individuals were counted during a cursory snorkel along part of the exposed side of Bird Islet.


During the day, these large cowries are tightly clamped inside crevices, singly or in pairs. Wilson (1993) notes that they emerge at night to browse.

Web resources


References that assist with identification

  • Wilson, B. (1993). Australian Marine Shells: 1. Prosobranch gastropods Odyssey Publishing, Kallaroo, Western Australia.