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Taxonomy of the
Zoila marginata

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This is a brief chronological history of the taxonomy of Zoila marginata.
The history is presented, starting with the type specimen through the
several subspecies now recognized, via a  a series of milestones and photos.

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1842 - The British Museum purchases at auction a cowrie, one of a kind, coming from [New Holland]
(the original name for what is now Australia).

1849 J. S. Gaskoin names the shell, as a species
new to science,  Cypraea marginata. The description
is published in "The Proceedings of the Zoological
Society of London", [of 1848],  p.91.

                                   Photo at right.
           Zoila marginata marginata (Gaskoin, 1849)
                    [ Holotype,  BMNH No. 42777 ]
margtype2.jpg (27253 bytes)

- After a period of 34 years, during which many malacologists considered Cypraea marginata
to be an anomalous shell of some other species, G.W. Tryon concludes that the Cyprae marginata is
nothing more than a variant of Cypraea thersites.

1906 - After 23 years J.G. Hidalgo confirms Tryon's opinion, "an anomalous thersites". [ This opinion
continues for years and is shared by T. Iredale, W. Steadman, B. Cotton, J. Allan and other malacologists.]

1938 - Time marches on, 32 years later, Prof. F. M. Schilder places marginata in the genus Zoila
and confirms it as a valid species, Zoila marginata. The poor waif is now 81 years old.

1961 -  After 119 years, the appearance of a second specimen!  Crawford Cate studies and confirms
Cypraea marginata  as a valid species.

1960's & 1970's - The proliferation of commercial trawling, lobster fishing and scuba diving, off 
the Australian coasts, brings up many new specimens of Zoila marginata.
It is no longer a lonely waif!
1978 -  The Taiwanese fishing trawlers,
working the NW Australian coasts,  collect
several specimens of a new form of marginata.  
L. Raybaudi names the new form as the
subspecies, Zoila marginata ketyana.

                                Photo at right.
          Zoila marginata ketyana  Raybaudi, 1978
           Trawled by Taiwanese off NW Australia
                 [Collection Emilio Jorge Power] 
margketyTX.jpg (19193 bytes)

1980's -  The many new specimens of Zoila marginata collected by trawlers, scuba and hookah
divers are given form names. These names are not taxonomically valid and seem to add confusion
to the already confused taxonomy of this unique mollusc. However,  this proliferation of form names
seems to have been implemented by advanced collectors to maintain an identity or correlation of the
specimens with the localized populations of Zoila marginata.
1985 - L. Raybaudi names another subspecies, 
Zoila marginata albanyensis , from the Albany
area of SW Australia.

                               Photo at right.
      Zoila marginata albanyensis  Raybaudi, 1985
              Dived off Point Nuyts, SW Australia
                  [Collection Emilio Jorge Power] 
margalbTX.jpg (19635 bytes)

1992 -  Dr. Felix Lorenz names another subspecies,
Zoila marginata raybaudii, representing the
southernmost population off  the Port Lincoln area.

                                  Photo at right.
          Zoila marginata raybaudii  Lorenz, 1992
        Dived off Gambier Island, South Australia
                     [Collection Emilio Jorge Power] 
margraybTX.jpg (23484 bytes)

1993 -  More turmoil in the Zoila marginata  taxonomy! G. Biraghi proposes that the
Zoila marginata raybaudii southern population is as the type specimen and also proposes
South Australia  as the locus typicus of the type specimen. Biraghi then names the Western
Australian form Zoila marginata consueta. Biraghi thus relegates Z. marginata raybaudii 
to a synonym. This is absurd as the Southern Australia population has characters much
different than the type specimen. B. Wilson accepts the Biraghi proposal and publishes
this in the "Australian Marine Shells" book, Vol I. The consensus amongst most malacologists
and collectors has been to ignore the Biraghi proposal. Unfortunately there are some collectors
and shell dealers that list the Western Australia marginata  as consueta.


The following are the valid existing species/subspecies names for  this most unique Zoila;

Zoila marginata marginata  (Gaskoin, 1849) - [The type species, Western population]

Zoila marginata ketyana  Raybaudi, 1978 - [Northwestern population]

Zoila marginata albanyensis  Raybaudi, 1985 - [Southwestern population]

Zoila marginata raybaudii  Lorenz, 1992 -   [Southern population]

The following are named forms. These forms are not taxonomically valid
however they are listed here as an aid in identification since many advanced
collectors and dealers use [have listed] the form names as a

distinguishing reference.

Z. marginata ketyana forma hypermarginata Raybaudi, 1994

Z. marginata ketyana forma lutea Raybaudi, 1994

Z. marginata marginata forma intermedians Lobetti, 1986

Z. marginata albanyensis forma nimbosa Raybaudi, 1994

The following are form/terms in common usage by advanced collectors
and dealers. The originators of the form names are unknown or the

form name has not been "officially" published.

"Taiwan" form,  Author??

"Craypot" form,  Author??

As with many Cypraeidae [Example:Zoila and Cypraeovula], there exist many
"deepwater forms" which are globose and heavier than the typical populations.
Some marginata have been listed as "profunda" or as in the case of the Western
Australia marginata population, the " Craypot " form.

These form names are  quite meaningless taxonomically , however these are
mentioned and shown here for reference purposes because the populations
thus named do exist and are distinct in minor characters of shell form.

There are other very trivial form names given to many Z. marginata
specimens by L. Raybaudi in his catalog/lists in "The Connoisseur of Shells"
and in "World Shells" magazines [Example: "profunda", "saturata", "extrema"],

these are not discussed herein.


[Zoila marginata consueta  Biraghi, 1993] is Zoila marginata marginata  (Gaskoin, 1849)

The Geographical Distribution pages show [via photos & map] the populations and distribution
of  the type species, subspecies and forms. As an aid in understanding this Zoila   some brief
ecological information is also presented.

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