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  • José H. Leal

A Cool Ovulid

Rotaovula hirohitoi is a species of the family Ovulidae (also known as “false cowries”) that inhabits the waters of Japan and the western Pacific Ocean, including the Philippine Islands. The species was named by Cate and Azuma to honor Emperor Hirohito, Japan’s longest-reigning emperor (1926–1989), who was also a marine biologist and malacologist.


Rotaovula hirohitoi

The delicate, elegant shell is very ornate, with nodules and projections that may impart structural strength. The color pattern includes from two to four broad, yellow spiral bands set against a semi-translucent background of faint lavender hues. This shell measures 5.7 mm, was donated to the National Shell Museum collection by Board of Trustees member Clair Beckmann, photographed by the Museum’s Curator José H. Leal using a Cognisys automated focal-stacking system, and processed through Helicon 8 focal-stacking software.