Haliotis kamtschatkana Jonas, 1845
Distribution: Sitka, Alaska, to Baja California.
Shallow water (north) to moderate depths (south).

California, on rocks, among Kelp. 88mm. The species is knobby, with large spiral cords
that are occasionally accentuated by some dashes of white pastel.
Spire visible on ventral view, columella narrow. Coloration variable of red, green and brown.
An interesting feature is this carina between the row of holes and the columella.
In this area, a deep furrow runs all along the shell, and constricts it. Holes elevated like little volcanoes.
Colour & pattern variations.
Collected around weedy rocks, intertidal to 8m deep, Ketchikan, Alaska Panhandle, Alaska.
54-108mm. Original pictures © R. Kershaw.

The southern design: "assimilis" Dall, 1878

Haliotis assimilis Dall is now considered as a junior synonym of kamtschatkana Jonas.
Owen & Raffety, 2017: « It has been demonstrated that shells exhibiting both "southern" and "northern" morphology are observed throughout the species distribution from at least southern Oregon, USA, to its southern-most point in central Baja California, Mexico. »
20-30m deep, on rocks, Puerto Santo Tomas, Baja California, W. Mexico. 130mm.
H. assimilis has strong spiral cords. Colour variable; often, the shell has the same green, red and white than H. kamtschatkana s.s, with which its intergrades along central California. Banded patterns exist also.
SW. California, 128mm. Diet variations can affect colour, and H. assimilis easily hybridizes with close species. But two features that remain constant are the spiral cording, and the lagoon reflections of the nacre.
Same remarks with this specimen, collected on rocks by scuba, San Diego county, California. 152mm.
A large shell, heavy, closer to true assimilis than the one above. Notice the flat cording.
Above and below: 20-30m deep, on rocks, near Santo Tomas, western Baja california. 105mm.
Specimens with one colour are uncommon.
5-25m deep, Ensenada, Baja California, W. mexico. 95-127mm.
Original pictures © R. Kershaw.
Same spot, 83mm. Banded shells are much sought after.
Original picture © R. Kershaw.

All pics © Olivier Caro