Conchiglie Riconoscere le Cipree
by G. Zobele Lipparini & O.Negra
Published in 2006, Muzio Pocket Guide, 328 pages, page size 3.5 by 7.5 inches (9 by 19 cm), plasticized board covers with stitched binding.
I recently came across this pocket guide and while generally I am not a big fan of this sort of book I was really impressed with this one. The book is written entirely in Italian which I guess is entirely appropriate since Italy probably can boast of more Cypraea collectors per capita than any place else on earth. But almost anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of the Italian language or who has access to an Italian to English dictionary will get a lot of use from this guide. It is very well done. In spite of its small format the photographs of he shells are extremely well done and they are clear and the detail is easy to see. In most cases there are two to three photos on the right hand page and a description of them which includes identification characteristics and range and habitat information of the shells on the left hand page. The authors are conservative in their approach to speciation and they recognize 210 living species which they group into 46 genera. There is an excellent and fully illustrated introductory section that covers the basic as well as some very complex concepts of cowrie nomenclature, development and evolutionary record. and the last few pages offer a spot where you can catalog your own collection. The small size of the book makes it easy portable and it can also serve as a desk reference book that will appeal to even the most specialized cowry collectors. While this book will not replace Lorenz and Hubert's "Guide To Worldwide Cowries" it offers a quick and easy guide to the most popular family of shells.