This book is a comprehensive treatment of the family Cypraeidae or cowries, a family of small to large sea snails. This book discusses 260 species and 193 subspecies of living cowries, placed in 9 subfamilies and 49 genera. The systematics follows molecular data as well as shell and animal morphology. A selection of fossil taxa is presented to understand the evolutionary history and the modification of the cowrie's shapes over millions of years.
Diagnostic plates guide the reader to the taxa. For each taxon the original reference, synonyms, descriptions, as well as habitat and distribution are given. Introductory chapters treat the different aspects of biology and systematics and are entitled "Cowries and Man", "Animal Morphology", "Reproduction and Development", "The Adult Shell", "Habitat and Distribution", "The Molecules" and "History of Cowries".
The following new taxa are included: Paradusta n. gen., Raybaudia n. gen., Cypraeovula algoensis liltvedi n. ssp., Macrocypraea cervinetta californica n. ssp., Paradusta barclayi sumatrensis n. ssp., and Schilderia achatidea verdensis n. ssp.