A to Z challenge: V is for Volvarina and Volva…

Volvarina is a genus of small to very small sea snails, marine gastropod molluscs in the family Marginellidae, the margin shells.(Wiki

These shells are just so gorgeous, shiny and perfect, I am ecstatic to find them beached in good condition. I’ve had a few ecstatic volvarina moments over the last three years! (sad, or what?)

On the East coast of UAE and Oman, several types of volvarina are found. Masirah and Southern Oman are home to some of the best. A delicate shell in colours ranging from an apricot brown to a vivid pink, a day is lifted when one of these small treasures are found.

On the UAE East coast near Dibba in one corner of a coral covered beach, on two occasions only several of the below Volvarina eumorpha were found just on the tide-line. Tiny shells, up to 9mm, easily missed, these were a bit of a find! Their habitat is Gulf of Oman.

Masirah island, Oman has one specific Volvarina, Volvarina pergrandis, abstractly patterned in pink hues.Found in sizes up to 18mm, it’s the most solid of the Arabian selection.

Volvarina cf obscura is more common. Up to 15mm, this little gem is found in Gulf of Oman, Masirah island and Southern Oman. Colours range from fawn, through to grey with an occasional pink/grey hue.

Volvarina cf micans is a Southern Oman native, but not found by Bosch when writing “Seashells of Eastern Arabia”. I have only ever found them on one or two specific beaches, but always plentiful.These are tiny, usually around 11mm.

The newest Arabian find was named in 2015, Volvarina dhofarensis Boyer.

Only found along a small stretch of coastline in S.Oman, we had actually found this in early 2013, not realising it was a new species. You win some, you lose some!

It’s easily the most striking owing to its coloration, with hues of vivid pink. One corner of a small rocky beach in Oman is our hunting ground for them and on our infrequent visits, the tide-line always throws up some new beauties. I just wish it wasn’t 1,400kms to that beach! Recent E-bay selling prices range from 85-100 euros per shell. I don’t trade what I find, but I may just start stock-piling for the retirement years!

I can’t close off “V” without mentioning the exotically shaped Volva volva. An Indo-Pacific shell, its fragility makes it rare to find it cast up whole on a beach. It was a pleasing moment to find a nigh-on perfect one and a week or two later, another find, embedded in beach rock. Never again have I been so lucky with this beautiful, fragile shell….

7 comments on “A to Z challenge: V is for Volvarina and Volva…

  1. Dear Vicky,
    I am discovering your web-page about the Volvarina species from Oman.
    I am studying this genus and all the marginellid groups since a lot, and published recent revision papers about the Marginellidae and the Granulinidae from Masirah. Now I am finishing the revision of the Cystiscidae from Masirah and I am beginning the study of the marginellids from the Dhofar, mainly on the ground of dive samplings handled by friends S. Gori and J. Rosado. I should want to talk with you about this duty, I think you may help me seriously. How to connect privately ? I do not see your e-mail address, but you may find mine on Internet through my recent articles of malacology. For instance see “About an assemblage of Granulina…” and you’ll find the full-paper on Researchergate, with my e-mail address on the front-page.
    Well, I hope to have news from you soon.
    Franck Boyer


    • Hello Franck, As an Oman mollusk devotee I recognize your name instantly! It would be good to be in touch. My email address is vicky2@cytanet.com.cy …. I will look for your mail address and send a mail also. As a little aside,we had found Volvarina dhofarensis in 2014, but, being new to the shell world had not realized it was a new species. On another visit early 2016, we found plenty and my partner was researching it as we then realized it was possibly new. We found you had named it in 2015! So we do know your name 😀 and you chose an excellent name for the most beautifully colored Volvarina !


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