Mauritia maculifera (Schilder, 1932)
Reticulated cowry, 40-74mm

Mauritia maculifera is a common species that prefers intertidal and shallow subtidal reefs, where it usually lives in reef depressions or under large rocks. They are common on shallow seaward reefs, where they are often exposed to strong surge from crashing surf. They also live in along quieter rocky shores, such as the manmade riprap along the lagoon side of Kwajalein’s eastern half. It is not difficult to see numerous living animals out at night grazing on the rocks above the waterline at low tide. Specimens can be found under rocks and in depressions on the seaward reefs to depths of at least 4m. This species resembles both Mauritia eglantina and M. arabica, but the dorsal coloration of those two species is composed of fine but distinct longitudinal lines. The dorsal color pattern of Mauritia maculifera is more like that of both Mauritia scurra and M. depressa, which are distinctly spotted with solid brown between the spots. Mauritia depressa tends to be smaller and more flattened (depressed?), while M. scurra is distinctly cylindrical in shape rather than oval. Mauritia maculifera differs from all four of these similarly colored species in the presence of a dark blotch (in fully grown shells) on the columellar side of the base. Mauritia maculifera is a Pacific species, ranging from western Polynesia and Hawaii to Fiji and through Micronesia to the Philippines.

Two specimens guard an egg mass on an overturned rock out of the water at low tide.

The next few shots were three individuals seen under rocks in the low intertidal.

Created 1 April 2008
Updated 29 November 2010

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