Rinca and Komodo Islands
Exploring the lesser Sunda Islands yielded numerous new discoveries during the years 1999 and 2007 when the team of Morrison and Lorenz traveled on board the MV Empress. The area between the islands of Rinca and Komodo had not been visited during these expeditions and the chance to go on a privately funded trip to modestly collect seashells opened in March 2014, and it was a too good an opportunity to miss. Together with Jana, who has also participated as a diver and collector on the Empress trips, we were able to collect several hitherto unknown members of the family Conidae, a subsequent report was published in The Cone Collector No. 25 p. 46 ff.
For example, a shell resembling Conus nielsenae was found at 25 m, on muddy sand at Wainilu Bay, Rinca Island. The general appearance of color pattern on the spire and the body whorl is closest to that Australian species. It also resembles the specimen from Aru illustrated by Röckel et al. as species No. 28 (RKK Pl. 73 g. 8), except that it lacks a paler interrupted median band. Among the shells collected during the trip, there was another species found on either side of the Australian continent (Blasicrura rhinoceros (Cypraeidae)). Obviously, this part of the Sunda Islands, situated just above the island of Timor, shares elements of its molluscan fauna with the tropical coasts of Australia.