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The Conus Biodiversity Website


  Conus miliaris Hwass in Bruguière, 1792.

Range: Indo-Pacific, except for Marquesas Is. and Hawaii. C. m. miliaris: S. Africa to Red Sea and to French Polynesia and Marshall Is.; C. m. pascuensis: restricted to Isla de Pascua (Easter Id.) and Sala y Goniez (Chile).

Description: Small to medium-sized, usually moderately light to solid. Last whorl broadly or broadly and ventricosely conical, sometimes conical to ventricosely conical in Lndian Ocean shells; outline slightly to distinctly convex. In large specimens, aperture often with a distinct median pad and an oblique abapical ridge. Shoulder variably tuberculate, angulate (C. m. miliaris) or subangulate to rounded (C. m. pascuensis). Spire of low to moderate height, outline straight to convex (C. m. miliaris) or domeshaped (C. m. pasurensis). Maximum diameter of larval shell about 0.7 mm. Postnuclear spire whorls weakly to strongly tuberculate. Teleoconch sutural ramps flat or faintly concave. with 2 increasing to4-5 spiral grooves. Last whorl with widely spaced granulose spiral ribs basally, smooth or with ribbons separated by grooves adapically. In form fulgetrum, widely set, fine, punctate grooves encircling a variable adapical portion of last whorl.

Shell Morphometry
  L 22-43 mm
  RW 0.12-0.48 g/mm
  RD 0.67-0.83
     (0.70 - 0.79 Pacific Ocean)
  PMD 0.79-0.92
  RSH 0.06-0.20

Ground colour white. Last whorl heavily tinged with apricot-tan or greyish rose leaving only blotches, broad axial zigzag lines, and broad arrow-shaped markings. White blotches fusing into a spiral band at centre and a faint band below shoulder. Variously spaced spiral rows of alternating brown and opaque white dots and dashes from base to shoulder. Larval whorls white, beige, pink or violet-red. Postnuclear sutural ramps with broad red-orange to red-brown dashes composed of collabral lines between tubercles. Aperture purplish pink to brownish violet, with paler bands at centre and below shoulder.

Periostracum yellowish grey, thin, translucent, smooth.

Form fulgetrum (Pl. 7, Figs. 9-11) differs from typical C. m. miliaris (Pl. 7. Figs. 1-8) in the dark orange-brown colouration of its last whorl, with fine brown reticulate lines and narrow crosshatchings, small spots and axial zigzag flames of white. Spiral rows of brown and white dots or dashes are absent. Aperture grey to brown, edged with violet-brown. C. m. pascuerisis (PI. 7, Figs. 12- 14) may be tinged with various shades of olive-brown and has a pronounced light coloured band without dots and dashes below edge of shoulder. Foot and siphon narrow. In typical C. m. milial-is (PI. 74, Fig. 8). foot white to pale buff mottled with pink to brown, usually lighter and with sparser mottling on sole; dorsum of foot often pink to light orange anteriorly; with a dotted black marginal line, broader posteriorly and ending in a large cluster of black dots anteriorly. Rostrum pale red. Tentacles white to buff. Siphon red at tip, grading to pale pink or brown, white or grey behind; distal part with or without black or white dots; rest of siphon mottled with brown to black, more heavy at base (Chaberman, pers. comm., 1981; Pearson, unpubl. observ.; Fainzilber et al., 1992; Kohn, unpubl. observ.). In C. m. pascuensis, sole of foot buff, mottled with brown; rostrum pale orange; tentacles grey, with a few brown and white spots at their distal end. Tlp of siphon rose, with a few white spots: posterior to the tip, dorsuni of siphon buff, with a transverse pattern of dark brown streaks extending to the ventro-lateral edge and becoming paler there; anterior third of dorsum often with a lighter mottling of transverse or longitudinal dashes or spots; in some specimens, rose tip separated from darkly mottled portion by a pale immaculate ring (Kohn, unpubl. observ.).

Radular teeth with an adapical barb opposite a weak blade; serration no longer than blade; shaft with a central waist and base with a spur. C. m. pascuensis with smaller teeth in proportion to shell length than C. nl. miliaris (Peile, 1939; Bandel 1984; Kohn, 1978b).

Habitat and Habits: Intertidal to about 10 m. Typical form of C. m. miliaris is more common on intertidal benches of beachrock or truncated reef limestone than on slightly subtidal reef platforms. It can be found at protected or exposed sites, in or on sand, coral rubble or rocks. and algal turf, infrequently also on large patches of sand and on bare reef limestone (Kohn, 1961 b, 1968b. 1978b; Kohn & Nybakken, 1975; Kohn & Leviten, 1976; Leviten & Kohn, 1980; Tirard, pers. comm., 1989; Fainzilber et al., 1992). C. m. pascuensis on marine benches and among boulders and corals to about 12 m. On intertidal benches, in sand bound by algal turf and chaetopterid tubes, in sand pockets and between rocks (Kohn, 1978b). C. m miliaris feeds exclusively on errant polychaetes, primarily Eunicidae. C. m. pascuensis also preys on eunicids and infrequently on nereids, but its diet composition differs from that of C. m miliaris in including a member of the family Onuphidae as most common prey species (Kohn, 1968b & 1978b; Kohn & Nybakken, 1975; Leviten & Kohn, 1980; Reichelt & Kohn, 1985). C. m miliaris deposits egg masses on the underside of coral rocks. Capsules of 5.5 x 6.0 mm contain about 1,000 eggs each. Egg diameter of about 160 µm predicts a minimum pelagic period of about 27 days (Kohn, 1961b; Perron & Kohn, 1985).

Discussion: C. miliaris is closely related to three vicariants - C. abbreviatus, C. encaustus and C. tiaratus Sowerby (the latter species in Vol. 2). For comparison with C. abbreviatus, C. encaustus and allied C. coronatus see DISCUSSIONS of these species. C. m. pascuensis differs from C. m. miliaris in morphometry of the shell and radular teeth, in some ecological characters, and to some extent in colour pattern of both shell and animal (Kohn and Riggs, 1975; Kohn, 1978b). These differences may be explained by geographic separation, perhaps over a period of 1-2.5 my and by adaptation to different environmental conditions. The differences are balanced by striking morphological and ecological similarities, which strongly suggest subspecies status for the population from Easter Island (Rehder, 1980). The name C. fulgetrum (syn. C. scaber) appears to apply to populations from Japan southwards to the Solomons Is. We tentatively consider this nominal species a form of C. m. miliaris. It is not distinct from typical C. m. miliaris in shell morphometry but differs constantly in the colour pattern of the shell without intergrading. More data on additional aspects of morphology, ecology and zoogeography are needed for a conclusive assignment of these populations as valid species or as form of C. m. miliaris. A form from the Indian Ocean often referred to as C. fulgetrum (e.g., Sharabati, 1984; Bandel, 1984)) is actually fairly typical of C. m. miliaris and not intermediate between form fulgetrum from the Western Pacific, as described above, and the typical Indo-West Pacific form.

Range Map Image

C. miliaris Range Map

This section contains verbatim reproductions of the accounts of 316 species of Conus from the Indo-Pacific region, from Manual of the Living Conidae, by Rckel, Korn and Kohn (1995). They are reproduced with the kind permission of the present publisher, Conchbooks.

All plates and figures referred to in the text are also in Rckel, Korn & Kohn, 1995. Manual of the Living Conidae Vol. 1: Indo-Pacific Region.

The range maps have been modified so that each species account has it own map, rather than one map that showed the ranges of several species in the original work. This was necessary because each species account is on a separate page on the website and not confined to the order of accounts in the book.


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