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Species / Lobatus Costatus


Original Description of Strombus costatus by Gmelin, 1791:

  • "Str. testae labro crassissimo, anfractu primo verrucis coronato; interstitiis verrucarum plicatis, altero transversim costato, reliquis transversim striatis."
  • (Addition:) "testa crassa 5 1/2 pollices longa, 5 lata, saepius lutea, et inter verrucas rosea."

Locus typicus: Gmelin, 1791 gave no locality; "No locality was given by Gmelin, and we now designate Clarencetown, Long Island, Bahamas as the type locality." (Clench & Abbott, 1941, p. 10)

Types: "We here select fig. 829, pl. 81, Martini, Conchy-Cab., (1), 3, 1777, as the type figure." (Clench & Abbott, 1941, p. 10)

Gmelin, 1791 cites:

  • Lister, Conch. t. 863, f. 18 b
  • Martin, Conch. 3 t. 81, f. 829


  • Mus. Gottwald, t. 17, f. 824
  • Martin, Conch. 3 t. 91, f. 887

Lister, 1688, pl. 863

  • Comment Ulrich Wieneke: Gmelin is citing Listers picture of Lobatus gigas, if pl. 863 is correct. This plate is the third shell shown as fig. 18 (There is no numbering on the plate, but 861 show fig. 18, which is in Martinis Numbering system 18a, 862 (no plate numbering) would be 18b and 863 18c).

Ala accipitrina Martini, 1777, pl. LXXXI, fig. 829

  • Martini also named it: "Das gerippte dickschalige Lapphorn" and "Der Habichtsflügel"

Ala accipitrina mutilata Martini, 1777, pl. XCI, fig. 887

Gottwald, 1714: Tab. I; Cap. VII.; pl. 25; fig. 124

History and Synonymy

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791: 3520) (Strombus)

  • Syn.: Strombus accipiter Dillwyn, 1817: 669
  • Syn.: Lambis accipitrina Röding, 1798: 66
  • Syn.: Strombus inermis Swainson, 1822: 7-8
  • Syn.: Strombus integer Swainson, 1823b: 402
  • Syn.: Strombus jeffersonia Van Hyning, 1945: 95, figs on pp 96-98
  • Syn.: Strombus costatus aguayoi Jaume & del Valle, 1947: 9, 10, figs 1, 3.
  • Syn.: Strombus costatus spectabilis Verrill, 1950: 127, pl. 9, fig. 4
  • Syn.: Strombus (Macrostrombus) costatus griffini Petuch, 1994: 258-259, pl. 19 fig. h (†)
  • non Strombus costatus Schröter,1779, p. 373, Taf. VIII, fig. 14 [non Linnean, different species]
  • non Strombus costatus Montagu, 1803 [= Epitoniid]

Vernacular Names

  • Melkvleugelslak (dutch)
  • harbour conch (english)
  • milk conch (english)
  • caracol blanco (spanish)


Lister, Lister & Lister, 1688, pl. 856


Lambis accipitrina Röding, 1798

Original description of Lambis Accipitrina by Röding, 1798, p. 66:

  • "L. Accipitrina. Der Habichtsflügel. Gmel. Stromb. costatus. sp. 32. Mart. 3. t. 81. f. 829. 2 St."


Strombus accipiter Dillwyn, 1817

Description of Strombus accipiter by Dillwyn, 1817, p. 669:

  • "ACCIPITER. 24. Shell with body-whirl crowned with spinous tubercles, and their interstices striated; first whirl of the spire ribbed, and the next striated transversely."
  • "Inhabits the Asiatic Ocean. Martini."
  • "Shell about five inches and a half long, and five inches broad, and is very nearly allied to S. Gigas. D'Avila, in his Cat. Syst. p. 185. No. 325, says. "Elle en diffère d'àilleurs en ce que la bouche n'en est point couleur de Rose, que les tubercules du premier orbe en sont plus gros à proportion, et que ceux des autres orbes sont presque entièrement cachés sous les extrémités des orbes précédens; l'aile est fort épaisse dans l'une, et papyracée dans l'autre." Gmelin's name of costatus had been before used by Da Costa for a different species."
  • Comment: Da Costa, Brit. Conch., p. 118, pl.8, fig. 14 described Strombiformis costatus, which is not a senior homonym of Strombus costatus

Dillwyn, 1817, p. 669 cited:

  • Strombus costatus. Gmelin, p. 3520. Schreibers Conch. i. p. 188.
  • Strombus, No. 2. Schroeter Einl. i. p. 450.
  • Ala accipitrina. Martini, iii. p. 121. t. 81. f. 829.
  • Lister Conch. t. 863. f. 18 b. Favanne, t. 20. f. C2. ?
  • Junior. With the outer lip unexpanded. Martini, iii. t. 91. f. 887.


Strombus inermis Swainson

Original Description of Strombus inermis by Swainson, 1841:

  • "Testâ nodulosâ, transversè sulcatâ: labio exteriore dilatato rotundato anticè integro: lobo basali tantum non obsoleto: aperturâ laevi albâ."
  • "Shell unarmed or slightly nodulous, transversely grooved; outer lip dilated, rounded, and above entire; basal lobe nearly obsolete; aperture smooth, white."

Swainson, 1841 cites "Lister 8561"


Description of Strombus integer by Swainson, 1823:

  • "S. testa nodosa; labii exterioris subinflexi, supra oblique rotundati, integri, ad spiram annexi, margine externo recto; aperture laevi, alba."
  • "Shell nodulous; outer lip sub-inflexed, above obliquely rounded, entire, attached to the spire, with the exterior margin straight; aperture smooth, white."
  • Locus typicus: Swainson gave no Locus typicus

Comment Swainson, 1823:

  • "Resembling in habit S. Accipiter, but is smaller, and the spire more lengthened. The exterior margin of the outer lip, instead of being curved outwards, is perfectly straight. This shell has long existed in my father's collection, but my recent possession of another specimen has removed the doubts I had entertained of its being a distinct species."


Strombus accipitrinus in Kiener, 1843, pl. ?


Strombus inermis in Duclos, 1844, pl. 25, fig. 3, 4


Strombus accipitrinus in Reeve, 1850, Strombus, pl. 7, fig. 12

Strombus accipitrinus var. in Reeve, 1850, Strombus, pl. 8, fig. 14


Clench & Abbott, 1941, p. 10:

  • "Both Gmelin and Lamarck refer to the same figure in Martini as the type of their species (see above). The earliest name, costatus, of Gmelin has preference over Lamarck's name accipitrinus. Swainson in his description of inermis refers to Lister's figure (Conchyliorum, 1770, fig. 856) which is unquestionably costatus with only moderately developed spines."


Van Hyning, 1945 described Strombus jeffersonia

Original Description of Strombus jeffersonia by Van Hyning, 1945, p. 95:

  • Except for the two more prominent tubercules, jeffersonia has none of the specific characters of raninus, as the natural size photographs here shown will bear out, jeffersonia is a little larger than raninus which is 112 mm for jeffersonia and 110 mm for raninus. Our specimen of jeffersonia, however, do not have the protoconch and early whorl. The color alone of jeffersonia will at once distinguish it from raninus, the former pink and the latter light gray exteriors, and jeffersonia with white, and raninus with pink interiors. The axial sculpture of jeffersonia does not show any of the tubercular bands below the periphery that exists with raninus. The heavy folds or lamella on the upper and inside corner of raninus do not occur with jeffersonia."
  • Locus typicus: Garden Key (old Fort Jefferson), Dry Tortugas Keys, USA
  • Localities: Marco Beach, Collier County, USA


Original Diagnosis of Strombus costatus aguayoi by Jaume & del VAlle, 1947, p. 9:

  • "Similar a Strombus costatus costatus Gmelin, difiriendo principalmente por la mayor cantidad de las espinas nodulosas, que en la última vuelta presenta un total de ocho a diez, mientras que en S. costatus costatus, se cuentan solamente de cuatro a seis. Dichas espinas nodulosas se encuentran también presentes y son muy prominentes en las demás vueltas de espira en costatus aguayoi, mientras que en costatus costatus, se presentan las últimas vueltas de espira entre sutura y sutura con fuertes costillas próximas a la sutura superior. En la última vuelta de S. costatus costatus, en su parte posterior, aparecen también fuertes corrigaciones espirales, pero en S. costatus aguayoi la escultura es casi lisa, notándose solamente unas ligeras corrugaciones espirales próximas al borde del labio."


Original Description of Strombus costatus spectabilis by Verrill, 1950, p. 127:

  • "The shells resemble Strombus costatus, but are shorter and chunkier. Whorls with from ten to twelve strong spines, which on last whorl extend completely around the shell to aperture. Sutures very distinct, each suture covering the bases of the spines on the whorl above, those of spire almost completely hidden by the upward extension of shoulders. Shoulders broad, flattened, concave. Canal bent very sharply to the right. Immature specimens have exceedingly broad, flattened spines and wide, flat shoulders. Color of adult shells whitish, longitudinally streaked with fine stripes of horn-color to brown, the spire often rose-pink with brown blotches. Columellar area and inner lip delicate rose-pink or madder, sometimes violaceous. Immature shells are white heavily blotched and spotted with rich reddish-chestnut. Interior of lip lilac. Size of adult: length 6 inches, diameter 5I/2 inches. Collected in fish traps at from 30 to 40 fathoms off Dominica, B. W. I. Type in the author's collection."

Strombus costatus spectabilis Verril, 1950, pl. 9, fig. 4


Berg et al., 1992, p. 437 about Strombus costatus in Bermuda:

  • "Harbour conch, S. costatus, breed within the inshore basins of Bermuda, and their planktonic larvae may undergo development, settlement, and metamorphosis all within the basins or nearshore waters."


Navarrete, 2002, Abstract, p. 227:

  • "Banco Chinchorro is an important source of S. costatus veligers and sustains an adult and juvenile population within the reef lagoon."

Navarrete, 2002, p. 229:

  • "At Banco Chinchorro, egg masses of S. costatus were first observed in March and were found until December when bottom water temperature decreased to 26.3°C. In Banco Chinchorro, the reproductive season of S. costatus is during a ten-month period, with a peak in copulation and egg laying in May. This period is longer than in Trinidad and Tobago where mating occurs from November until June (Perchard 1968) and longer than in Venezuela, where reproduction occurs from November to May (Brownell 1977)."


Richard Goldberg on Lobatus costatus from Jamaica:

  • "I found an interesting molluscan phenomenon along the south central coast of Jamaica. All of the Strombus we found had dwarf adult shells. No typical size specimens were present. The largest Strombus pugilis was 55mm; the smallest 50mm (lower left). The upper left specimen is 52mm, which was an average size. The right specimen is a 64mm Strombus costatus. Typically specimens are found in sizes 20 to 50mm or more for the costatus and 10 to 25mm larger for the pugilis. I'm not sure what is causing the dwarfism, but warmer than normal water temps might be the culprit causing the mollusks to mature at an earlier stage of growth and create the mature lip at a smaller size."

Copyright Richard Goldberg

Specimens from private collections

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); Florida, USA; 182 mm; Coll. Ulrich Wieneke

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); 122 mm; Coll. Ricardo Villar

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); off St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida, USA; day dive 60 ft hard pan bottom on rocky ledge by local fisherman; 123 mm; 10/2015; Coll. Ulrich Wieneke

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); off Clearwater, Pinellas County, Florida, USA; 123 mm; Coll. Ulrich Wieneke

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); off Clearwater, Pinellas County, Florida, USA; 107 mm; Coll. Ulrich Wieneke

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); off Clearwater, Pinellas County, Florida, USA; 106 mm; Coll. Ulrich Wieneke

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); Lower Matecumbe Key, Monroe County, Florida, USA; at 3-10 ft; 160 mm; Coll. Koenraad De Turck

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); off Key West, Key West Island, Monroe County, Florida, USA; Coll. Koenraad De Turck

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); Treasure Cay, Sandy Point Abaco, The Bahamas; Collected by snorkel at 3-5' on sand and grass; 123 mm; 5/2006; Coll. Ulrich Wieneke

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); albino form; Eleuthera Island, The Bahamas; Coll. Paul Kanner

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); Bermuda Islands; 128 mm; Coll. Ricardo Villar

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); Anse Marcel, Saint Martin Island, French Caribbean; Coll. Koenraad De Turck

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico; 210 mm; Coll. Ulrich Wieneke

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico; 97 mm; Coll. Koenraad De Turck

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); Caribbean Sea; 118 mm; Coll. Ricardo Villar

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); Haiti, Hispaniola Island, Greater Antilles; 134 mm; Coll. Ulrich Wieneke

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); near Deshaies, Guadeloupe Island, French Caribbean; 180 mm; 1985; Coll. Koenraad De Turck

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); Trujillo Bay, Colon Department, Honduras; at 30 ft.; 6/2012, Coll. Andre Poremski; Copyright and Photo Aurantius Collection

  • 1.row: clean carbonate sand near living corals and turtle grass; 95,9 mm;
  • 2.row: clean carbonate sand near living corals and turtle grass; 92,7 mm
  • 3.row: clean carbonate sand near living corals and turtle grass; 92,6 mm
  • 4.row: soft coralline sand among turtle grass; 91,5 mm;

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); Portobelo Bay, Colon Province, Panama, Caribbean Sea; Coll. Andre Poremski; Copyright and Photo Aurantius Collection 1.row: 144 mm 2.row: 133 mm 3.row: 136 mm

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); San Blas Islands, Guna Yala Province, Panama, Caribbean Sea; 95 mm; Coll. Ricardo Villar

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); Puerto Rico Island, USA, northeastern Caribbean Sea; 93,9 mm; Coll. Andre Poremski

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); Fortaleza, Ceará State, Brazil; 158 mm; Coll. Ricardo Villar

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); off Rio de Fogo, Rio Grande Norte State, Brazil; 125 mm; Coll. Ulrich Wieneke

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); off Rio de Fogo, Rio Grande Norte State, Brazil; 150 mm; Coll. Ulrich Wieneke

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); Alcobaça, Bahia State, Brazil; 113,5 mm; Coll. Ricardo Villar

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); Pernambuco State, Northeast Region, Brazil; 148 mm; Coll. Ricardo Villar

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); Camocim, Ceará State, Brazil; lobster nets in 25-30 m, sand; 149 mm; Coll. Ulrich Wieneke

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); freak; Camocim, Ceará State, Brazil; lobster nets in 30-40 m, sand; 115 mm; Coll. Ulrich Wieneke

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); Salvador, Bahia State, Brazil; 90,3 mm; Coll. Ricardo Villar

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); Bahia de Todos os Santos, Bahia, Brazil; on corals at 10-12 m by diver; 2/1993, Coll. Koenraad De Turck

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); Pleistocene; El Yaque, Isla Margarita, Venezuela; Coll. Stichting Schepsel Schelp no. SSS 25694

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); Pleistocene; Boca Chica Coast, Isla Margarita, Venezuela; 1995; Coll. Stichting Schepsel Schelp no. SSS 25693

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); Holocene; Boca del Pozo, Nueva Esparta, Venezuela; 1995; Coll. Stichting Schepsel Schelp no. SSS 25465

Lobatus costatus griffini (Petuch, 1994); Okeechobee Formation, Pleistocene; Griffin Brothers quarry, 10 km east of Miami Canal, along Broward-Palm Beach County line, Florida, USA; Coll. Stichting Schepsel Schelp no. SSS 24257

Lobatus costatus griffini (Petuch, 1994); Okeechobee Formation, Pleistocene; Griffin Brothers quarry, 10 km east of Miami Canal, along Broward-Palm Beach County line, Florida, USA; Coll. Stichting Schepsel Schelp no. SSS 22294

Aliger costatus griffini (Petuch, 1994); Immokalee, 3 miles from Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Collier County, Florida, USA; 147,6 mm; Coll. Aart Dekkers no. STR9076


  • Film: Strange feeding behaviour, 0:34 min; Copyright Anton Oleinik
    • Comment Anton Oleinik: "The picture with two strombus is taken off Marathon, Florida keys, off Delta Shoal near the Delta D barge wreck at 25 feet during night. Water temperature 81oF. It appered to me at first that these strombuses (Strombus (Lobatus) costatus) were mating. But at the closer look you can see that that smaller conch is attached to the back surface of the shell of the larger one. It is my understanding that the smaller one was eating the algae off the shell of the larger one and did not want to give up the salad bar."
  • Film: Hermit crab carrying a Lobatus costatus shell, 0:36 min; Copyright Anton Oleinik
    • Comment Anton Oleinik: "All pictures are of Strombus (Lobatus?) costatus were taken in August - early September of 2010 off Marathon, Florida Keys, Florida, USA, in the vicinity of the Sombrero Reef. These pictures are taken in ~ 25 - 40 feet of water during the day and night on carbonate coral debris sand within the general area of the Hawk Channel and seagrass beds landward from the reef tract."
  • Film: Lobatus costatus locomotion, 0:21 min; Copyright Anton Oleinik
    • Comment Anton Oleinik: "All pictures are of Strombus (Lobatus?) costatus were taken in August - early September of 2010 off Marathon, Florida Keys, Florida, USA, in the vicinity of the Sombrero Reef. These pictures are taken in ~ 25 - 40 feet of water during the day and night on carbonate coral debris sand within the general area of the Hawk Channel and seagrass beds landward from the reef tract."

Living specimens

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); Pompano Beach, Florida, USA; Photo & copyright Anton Oleinik

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA; Photo & copyright Anton Oleinik

Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); Florida, USA; in Aquarium; Photos Tammy Bailey Myers

Fasciolaria tulipa (Linnaeus, 1758) eating a juvenile Lobatus costatus (Gmelin, 1791); Honduras; 2011; Photo Paul Kanner


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