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Pupa tessellata
(Reeve, 1842)
 
Pupa tessellata
Maximum size:  20 mm (extrapolated from shell length).

Identification:  This species has a heavily calcified shell with widely spaced punctate striae and peach maculations. The body is translucent gray with white flecks. (Note 1)

Natural history:  Pupa tessellata is a moderately common sand dweller found in protected to moderately protected back reef sand patches at depths of 1-3 m (3-10 ft) as well as in Halimeda kanaolana beds at depths up to 17 m (56 ft). Dredged shells at the Bishop Museum extend the depth range to at least 82 m (269 ft). It is nocturnally active, plowing through the sand just beneath the surface at night while remaining buried by day.

Distribution:  Big Island, Maui, Molokai, Oahu and French Frigate Shoals: widely distributed in the Indo-Pacific.

Taxonomic notes:  The photo of this species in Kay, 1979 is mislabeled as Pupa pudica. Pupa Thaanumi, Pilsbry, 1917 is a synonym (Kay, 1979) and it is listed under that name in Edmondson, 1946, Quirk & Wolfe, 1974 and Tinker, 1958. The fossil species Pupa pearlensis, Pilsbry, 1921 may also be a synonym. It was probably first reported from Hawaii in Pilsbry, 1917.

Photo:  CP: about 18 mm: Hekili Point, Maui; Oct. 3, 2002.

Observations and comments:

Note 1:  Shells of this species show strong red fluorescence under ultraviolet light (395 nM).
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