Turbo maoa Curtiss, 1938,

Low, Martyn E. Y. & Tan, Siong Kiat, 2014, On the identities of the molluscan names described in A Short Zoology of Ta h i t i in the Society Islands by Anthony Curtiss in 1938 (Mollusca: Cephalopoda, Gastropoda), Zootaxa 3764 (3), pp. 394-400: 398

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Turbo maoa Curtiss, 1938


Turbo maoa Curtiss, 1938  , a possible synonym of Turbo setosus Gmelin, 1791 

Original description (p. 191). “The maóa  is a large sort of sea-snail, common on the barrier reef, and much used for food by the Indians. They break off its shell with a hammer, pick it clean, separate it from its hard knob, and put it in hollow bamboo stalks, with taioro sauce. It will keep in that way for several days. (Taioro sauce is the clean meat of a ripe coconut, grated fine, and seasoned with the juices squeezed from the heads of river shrimps.) Its shell is large and rounded, the spire, however, coming to a point. It is grayish-brown outside, white inside, and like mother-of-pearl under its outer covering. The opening is circle-shaped, and without teeth, and under the foot is a hard, round knob, like half a marble in shape, with which it closes the opening when it is inside. The outside of the outer lip of the opening it variegated with yellow and chestnut-color, and has elevated streaks, which, becoming less elevated, run on around the spire of the whole shell. The maóa  is sometimes found on rocks close inshore, but more usually on the barrier-reef. ( Turbo maóa  . (Near Tautira.))”.

Identity. The description of the operculum (hard, round knob, like half a marble) leaves no doubt that this is a species of the genus Turbo  . Four Turbo  species, T. argyrostomus Linnaeus, 1758  , T. marmoratus Linnaeus, 1758  , T. petholatus Linnaeus, 1758  , and T. setosus Gmelin, 1791  , have been recorded in the French Polynesia ( Tröndlé & Boutet 2009). However, T. marmoratus  would not have been seen by Curtiss as it was only introduced to the region during the 1960 s ( Yamaguchi 1993). The utility of this species for food was emphasized by Curtiss. Turbo argyrostomus  and T. setosus  happen to be the two species most commonly collected for food in the South Pacific ( Yamaguchi 1993; Poutiers 1998), but Curtiss’s description is insufficient to clearly determine which. Based on our interpretation of the description, Turbo maoa  is more likely to be conspecific with Turbo setosus Gmelin, 1791  , which is distinctly more round in shape and fits better with Curtiss’s description of a large rounded shell with a pointed spire as the shells of T. argyrostomus  normally have distinctly angular whorls. Turbo setosus Gmelin, 1791  , is a widely-distributed Indo-West Pacific species ( Poutiers 1998).