|Haliotis pustulata Reeve, 1846|
|Distribution: Red Sea to eastern Mediterranean, to Persian Gulf, to northeastern South Africa.|
Seychelles, Madagascar. Réunion & Mauritius. Average 25-35mm. Shallow water to 20m.
|From north to south. Mediterranean scout: 4-8m deep, under rocks, Haifa, Israel. 30mm.|
The species remains uncommon in these northern waters.
|1m deep, on rock, Sharm el Sheik, Janub Sina', Egypt. 32-32mm.|
Sculpture, colours and patterns vary a lot.
|Shallow water under stones, Eilat, Aqaba Gulf, Red Sea. 30-32mm.|
Dorsal pustulations often exist, and give the name to the species.
They are placed on a mesh built with spiral lines and, sometimes, prosocline rays.
|An odd specimen from Giftun island, off Hurghada, Al Bahr al Ahmar, Egypt. 34mm.|
A features that remains quite constant is the "dotting", on ventral side, given by the dorsal pustules
in a spiral arrangement. This shell shows traces of helicoidal pattern near the spire.
|A flat and lovely shell from a reef off Hurghada, Al Bahr al Ahmar, Egypt. 26mm, 1996.|
This morph matches exactly the "Shield abalone", Haliotis ancile Reeve 1846, as it is pictured in
Abbott & Dance's Compendium. Nota bene that ancile is considered as a synonym of rubra Leach.
|Abalone on fire. Under rocks and dead corals, at 1-2m deep, Marsa'Alam, Al Bahr al Ahmar, Egypt. 42mm.|
|Form cruenta Reeve, 1846. Sometimes considered as a subspecies, it is said to have a lighter shell,|
and reddish colours. More occurences in Red Sea and Mediterranean. Shallow water, Jibuti. 27mm.
|Two specimens from Tanzania. Zanzibar island, shallow water, on rocks. 36mm.|
|Four shells from Nacala Bay, Nampula, Mozambique. 34-41mm, 2006.|
If specimen #1 on top is a true pustulata, what can be said about #4?
From top to bottom, shells become more rounded, lack their pustules and develop a sculpture made of folds,
cords and scales. Also, the anterior margin is not as straight as in pustulata.
Nevertheless, #4 is not a clathrata. So what?
|A special "ancile x clathrata", 35mm long, from the same spot. Compare with specimens #3 & #4 above.|
It often happens that shells labelled "H. varia" are offered from SE. Africa. Of course, there is no varia here.
Anatomical studies of abalones in Nampula could give us a better idea of the different species that live here.
This shell above is not a clathrata, it is not a varia, and certainly not a rugosa.
|From the same spot, a shell of the same group. Shallow water, under stones, 42mm.|
Rounder than average, with more orange than red.
|Two shells from Tulear area, Madagascar. 40-42mm, 2005.|
Southern shells have rougher sculpture, with more pronounced spiral cords, than Red Sea specimens.
|By dive, Mahambo, Toamasina, Madagascar. Large, flat, rounded, red. 41mm.|
|A highly variable species. Tulear area, again. 33mm.|
|Young specimen, collected at 5-10m deep, Nacala bay, Nampula, Mozambique. 24mm.|
|Tulear area, Madagascar. 39mm.|
|All pics © Olivier Caro|