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WRS Rules


Size continues to be an issue among shell collectors and researchers. Though some may view this project as a competition of sorts, it remains the goal of the Registry of World Record Size Shells© to provide collectors, researchers, and students of malacology and conchology with a single source document for the maximum (and, in some cases, the minimum) adult size attainable by shell- bearing marine molluscan species of the world. Some families, although shell producing, have been omitted because of subjectivity in obtaining reproducible measurements of species contained within those families.
The scope of the Registry is purposely limited to data intended as support information for each species entered. Categories selected for inclusion are based on, but not limited to, those included in past publications by other authors of similar works. Additional categories not included in earlier publications have been added to this issue of the Registry based on the areas of interest most often expressed by readers and reviewers.
The alphabetic format for the Registry was selected for its ease of use by the widest possible and audience. Taxonomie placement of entries under respective families is based on A Classification : the Living Mollusca, Vaught, 1989 and Bouchet & Rocroi, 2006. It is not the intent of the Registry to propose correct taxonomie placement or dispute synonymies, although a concerted effort has been made to make the information contained in the Registry conform to current published opinion.


Entries can be submitted by email to :
jp@topseashells.com     or    philippe.quiquandon@wanadoo.fr

Each entry must include:
1. family 2.genus
3. species
4. size
5. owner or repository
6. location collected (if known)
7. year collected (if known) or year acquired
8. signature of verifying party

Lists of more than 9 records should be submitted as a Word, Excel, Text file. Paper listings will no longer be used.



The family to which the species being entered is taxonomically assigned. Please do not list subfamily.



The genus to which the species being entered is taxonomically assigned. Please do not use subgenera.


The name of the species being entered. If the entry is other than the nominate species, please note clearly if it is a subspecies, form or variety. Entries based on color alone will not be listed unless the name has been published and generally accepted throughout the shelling community.


1. Largest
Specimens should be measured with vernier type calipers and should reflect the greatest measurable dimension of the shell in any direction including any processes of hard shell material produced by the animal (Le. spines, wings, keels, siphonal canals, etc.) and not including attachments, barnacles, coralline algae, or any other encrusting organisms. Long, hair-like periostracum is not to be included.
Measurements should be reported in millimeters to the nearest tenth (0.1 mm).
Specimens submitted for entry as world records must exceed the current records by as minimum of three tenths of a millimeter (0.3 mm). This standard was established by Wagner and Abbott in the past to compensate for factors which may cause unavoidable variances in measurement such as calipers used, technique, and climatic effects. The Registry of World Record Size Shells will continue to observe this standard.

2. Smallest
In some families, where it is possible to determine a complete, fully mature adult specimen, entries may be submitted for the record as the "smallest" adult specimen of a species. Only Strombidae, Marginellidae and Cypraeidae qualify for this type of entry in the Registry. The same method of measurement and the 0.3 mm margin rules apply for specimens over 10.0 millimeters.

3. Ties
Entries may be submitted for specimens which are the same size or "tie" that of current records. Ties will not be published but will be kept on file for future reference. Occasionally, a standing record is found to be invalid because of mismeasurement or misidentification of the specimen. In these cases, records on file are checked for a "tie" or the next largest entry submitted which will be published in the next edition. Future issues may include "tie" entries, but for now, only the first submitted will be published. In this issue, the reader may notice entries where the owner's name has change d, but the size remains the same. These are listings of record specimens which have changed ownership since the previous issue. There are also a few entries where the specimen has been remeasured and the size has changed slightly.

4. Abnormal forms
In an attempt to standardize the contents of the Registry, several changes have been made regarding abnormal forms. Recent works have begun to include a plethora of names assigned to shells based solely on color (including "albinistic" forms) or size.

These new "taxa" present several unique problems in listing record sizes.

In past issues of the Registry and its predecessors, "albino" forms were included in the belief that albinism may have sorne bearing on development in regard to size. We will come back and introduce again the Albinistic  Shells in some families .

 Along with assigning names to color forms of various species, some authors have attached names to dwarf forms, as weIl. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the se new taxa, the names have now become part of the literature and must be addressed. Some of these new "form" names present a rather interesting problem for registering world record sizes. One of the most notable of these occurs in the family Cypraeidae. The name Mauritia scurra indica f. vono was authored based on individuals that are sm aller than M. scurra indica. Therefore, a record large size cannot be listed for "vono" as there is no clear dividing line between the subspecies "indica" and it' s form "vono. " For this reason, the Registry reserves the right to omit some of the new form names based on a description of being generally smaller or generally larger.

Rostrate forms
In addition to the largest sizes listed for normally developed cowries, the Registry will publish secondary entries for those wishing to submit entries for shells which are obvi-ously rostrate. However, to avoid confusion, entries for rostrate specimens must be noted as such.

Sinistral forms
Sinistral forms of shells are included in the Registry. Since a shell is either sinistral or it' s not, there is no subjectivity involved.


Because it is possible to have more than one John Smith or more than one Betty Jones, the owner' s full first name, middle initial and full last name should be included when submitting entries. A repository entry may also be listed as "John Smith Collection" or "Betty Jones Collection" by request of the submitting party. Otherwise, the repository will be listed as the name of the individu al or institution submitting the entry. Address, telephone number and / or fax or e-mail address should be provided. Only the owner' s state and / or country of residence will be published with the record holders' names in Appendix 1 of the Registry, "Individual Entry Totals." ALL OTHER PERSONAL INFORMATION IS CONFIDENTIAL AND WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED OR PASSED ON BY THE EDITORS OF THE REGISTRY.

Joint Ownership
Logically, it is physically impossible for a specimen to be housed in two places at the same time. However, in sorne instances, two or more persons may share ownership of a single specimen. When this occurs, the repository may be listed as something like, "A. & B. Smith" or "Smith & Jones." Because of format constraints, repository listings must be restricted to 21 characters including spaces. In some instances, abbreviations may be listed and can be referenced in the appendices.



General location data for each entry should be provided. "Southern California" is acceptable. "San Diego, California" is preferred. "Okinawa" is acceptable. "Zampa Cape, Okinawa" is preferred. It is not necessary to include habitat data such as depth, substrate, etc. All entries not accompanied by location data will be listed as "no data" or "unknown" or  NC .



When submitting information for an entry in the Registry, only the year collected need be provided. If the year collected is unknown. the year acquired will be acceptable. If neither the year collected nor the year acquired is known, the year registered will be listed. The following codes are added to the year to indicate one of three categories; c (year collected), a (year acquired), r (year registered), e.g. 1987a. This information is intended to aid readers in identifying trends in time / size relationships. An arrow preceding the year indicates that the specimen was collected or acquired sometime prior to that date « 1946c) or after that date (> 1946c).



Submissions which do not show proof of verification will NOT be published in the Registry of World Record Size Shells. All entries must be verified by one of the following:

1. Second party verification:
· A professional malacologist,
· a reputable shell dealer, or
· an advanced collector who is recognized as a specialist in the applicable family.
All persons serving as the verifying party must sign and date the entry form and include contact information.

2. Photographie verification:
In the event that a second party is not available to verify correct identification and measurement of an entry, photographic proof may be submitted along with the entry form. Photos must include a measuring device such as vernier type calipers placed alongside the specimen and with the numbers clearly readable. Photos submitted with entries become the property of the Registry of World Record Size Shells and will not be returned.

EA.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q. How often are new issues of the Registry published?
A. New issues of the Registry of World Record Size Shells are tentatively scheduled for publication every year from now on. In the past, other similar publications were scheduled to release new issues every five years. Most readers felt this was too long between issues and many lost interest. After weighting a number of factors, it was decided that the optimum time between issues is one year, which allows sufficient time for enough entries to warrant a new issue. A three-year cycle or more would result in the same loss of interest (and loss of participation) as a four or five year cycle. Most people whose entries qualify as records don't care for the idea of waiting five years to see their name in print, or worse, having their entries surpassed before the records are published.

Q. When is the deadline for submitting entries for the next issue?
A. The deadline for submitting entries is December 31 of the publication year, roughly 12 weeks before publication of the next issue.

Q. Why are chitons not included in the Registry?
A. By virtue of the difficulties involved with preserving and mounting chitons, consistent standards of precise measurements are not possible. Where specimens are preserved with the girdle intact, slight differences of pressure during mounting can result in a variance of several millimeters in overalliength. Humidity levels at the time of measurement can also yield varied results. Theoretically, the necessary 0.3 mm margin needed to surpass an existing record could literally be "squeezed" out of a softened specimen. Specimens preserved without the girdle where the bare plates are re-articulated can vary radically in length depending on the technique of the person preparing the specimen. In either case, in theory, it is possible that a smaller specimen could actually yield an overall greater length than an obviously larger specimen. For the se reasons, chitons are not included.

Q. Some sizes found in shell books are larger than some of the entries listed in the Registry. Why is this?
A. Many of the popular shell books available to collectors often list sizes or size ranges for a species but do not indicate the source of the information, rendering it unverifiable. In some references, sizes have been estimated rather than actual measurements taken.
In the better references, accurate size and repository information has been included for specimens illustrated. These sizes will be listed in the Registry whenever possible.

Q. Will freshwater species be included in future issues?
A. Considering the already enormous task of dealing with marine species al one, terrestrial and freshwater species have been excluded. However, preparations are under way for possible inclusion in future editions.

Q. Why aren't fossil forms of Recent species included in the Registry?
A. After much consideration, it was decided that fossil forms of Recent species would not be included in the Registry with the reasoning that, if fossil forms of Recent species were included~ then other closely related fossil species must also be included. This begins to reach far beyond the intended scope of the publication.

Q. If I1 buy a shell that is listed as a record in the Registry, is my name automatically listed as the new record holder? Or can I just phone in the change?
A. No on both counts. One of the major problems with a publication such as the Registry is the difficulty in tracking the movements of each specimen listed. All entries will remain as they were last published until we receive written notification that a specimen has changed hands. It is up to either the recipient or the former owner to notify the editors of the Registry with the appropriate information of new ownership. However, second party verification is not necessary for simple transfer of ownership. The same applies to specimens donated to museums or other institutions. Once notification is received, the listings in the next issue will reflect the transfer of ownership. Transfer information is NOT accepted by telephone. A lack of verifiable documentation is the number one cause of controversial and erroneous listings in current publications. All such transfers must be submitted in writing. Notification of transfers may also be submitted bye-mail. Once transfer information has been processed, the new owner' s name will appear in the repository column of the entry without further notation. If the repository name has changed for an entry while all other information remains the same, it can be assumed that the previous record shell was transferred to a new owner unless otherwise noted. A word of caution. The desire of sorne collectors to try to obtain the largest specimen of a species is understandable. In fact, some collectors base their entire collection on this premise. However, before purchasing a specimen and paying a premium price based solely on the fact that it is a current world record, collectors should bear in mind that the world record status is fleeting. What may be the largest specimen known at the time of purchase may be the second or third largest on the following day.

Q. Why are the bivalves listed separately?
A. After polling a number of collectors and researchers, the general consensus was that separating the bivalves from the gastropods was a more useful arrangement since most popular and scientific works separate these two groups.

Q. Can I buy just the section covering one family like cones or cowries?
A. Sorry, the Registry is sold only as a complete unit. The cost of printing and issuing individual sections would be unreasonably high to both the publisher and the consumer.

Q. Why doesn't the Registry have something like page tabs or 'cut-outs' marking the major families?
A. The editors of the Registry agree that page markers for major families or ' cut-outs' such as those found in some dictionaries would be useful. However, this would add significantly to the sale price and is an added expense most collectors have said they can do without.

Q. Will I be notified if my entry is a new record?
A. Registrants are not automatically notified regarding the status of their entries before publication. Anyone wishing to be notified whether or not their entry has made the list should include a self-addressed, stamped envelope with their entry. Three to four weeks should be allowed for a reply. Notification requests are limited to five entries or less. Registrants should also bear in mind that ev en if their entry is a new record at the time it is submitted, it may be surpassed before the Registry is published. Reasonable inquiries may also be made by email.

Q. Can I submit an entry by email?
A. Yes, under the following conditions: E-mail submissions must contain all of the same information as if being submitted by regular mail. Photos must adhere to the same rules for verification as those submitted by mail. Please, do not send picture files in bitmap format.

E-mail should be send  to :
jp@topseashells.com     or    philippe.quiquandon@wanadoo.fr



Q . Can I send my déclaration by mail ?
A . Yes you can send  it  to :

Shells Passion
Philippe  Quiquandon  -  Olivier  Santini
ZI de l'Argile - lot 119 A - Voie K - 460 Avenue de la Quiera -
06370 Mouans-Sartoux

Tel: +33 493 75 58 11
Fax: +33 493 75 39 90

Perlae Trading Corporation
Sacris Road,
Bakilid Banilad
Mandaue City
6014 Cebu
Tel : +6332-346-3456








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