This small abalone is distinguished from other snails by the pattern of holes in its shell, a characteristic of all abalones. This one has its eye stalk exposed at the lower right of the photo. Larger species of abalone are a highly valued food, pried loose from their hold on the reef by divers equipped with special prying tools. Unfortunately in California many divers have been so preoccupied with pursuing abalones they forget that they too are being pursued by large fish, also with specially equipped tools, in the form of teeth (sharks).
This species has been recently described (2001) as Haliotis thailandis. Special thanks to Dr. Daniel Geiger of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, California, USA for assistance with the identification. His Abalone Mapping Project site (ABMAP) is dedicated to the mapping of abalones worldwide, including Haliotis thailandis, pictured above, with excellent specimen photography he produced. His personal web site has a useful invertebrate and abalone links page.
Identification: Haliotis thailandis
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