Haliotis varia Linnaeus, 1758
Distribution: Sri Lanka to Tonga, S. Japan to Australia.
Size to 76mm. Intertidal to a few meters, under stones and in crevices.

The numerous synonyms denote the high variability of this species, in sculpture as well as in pattern
and coloration. The outline varies also, from rounded to elongated, from flat to convex.
These three green shells above were collected around Bohol, Philippines. 42-46mm.
They could be regarded as "average" for the species, because they don't show extreme features:
rounded shape, marbled pattern, bump randomly disposed, shell moderately convex and somewhat arched, large spiral cords, some folds, no scales but fine growth lines.
The whole sculpture is quite smooth, as if it was polished.
Like in pustulata, the dorsal bumps are visible in nacre.
Oval in shape, with raised holes and narrow spiral cords. Few bumps, which are disposed along spiral lines, in a prosocline arrangement. Maravilla, Cebu, Philippines, 59mm.
More bumps, spirally arranged, as it can be seen on ventral side.
Shallow water, on rocks, Negros, Philippines, 25-41mm.
H. varia has no specific feature, but a bundle of characteristics that lead to identification.
Broome, NW. West Australia, 38mm. A quite bumpy specimen.
No bump but strong cords. A very arched shell, and more elongated than average.
High spired, convex, this one looks like an other species.
At low tide under slab, Marau sound, Solomon islands, 45mm.
Elongate and smooth. 45mm specimen from Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa, Viet Nam.
Close to some morphs of diversicolor, but not enough holes.
Shells with three colours are regarded as uncommon.
Two shells from Phuket, Thailand.
If the shell on top is obviously a varia, the slender one could be a rough variant of diversicolor.
In this case, this would illustrate the phenomenon of interspecific color convergence,
certainly due to similar dietetic habits.
At low tide, under stone, on rocky substrate, Nai Harn bay. 53,5-54,5mm.
Typical specimen of this surprising form.
At low tide, under slab, on reef. Northwest Island, Queensland, 42mm.
It has all the features of a varia, except the shape that is as elongated as in dohrniana.
An other specimen from Queensland. At low tide, on rocks, Stanage Bay, 45mm.
Very few pattern, little bumps, shell less rounded than usual.
Never forget one thing: in varia, the sculpture is smooth, like polished.

The variations in the form "dohrniana" Dunker, 1863:

The dorsum shows a mixture of scaly cords, lamellae and folds. The holes are a bit raised.
2m deep, in rocks, Mahanay island, Bohol, Philippines. 20mm.
Colour and sculpture variations within a single spot:
25m deep, in dead Balanus, Masbate, Philippines. 18,4-25,6mm.
Holes round and raised; microscales on the dorsal cords.
Often some spirals of little bumps near the apex. 6m deep, on rock, Masbate. 26,6mm.
25m deep, Olango island, Cebu, Philippines. 29mm.
55m deep, Samar, Philippines. 18,5-19mm.
Two red shells from Calituban island, Bohol. 31-34mm.
Intertidal specimen from Samar. 32mm.
Average sizes, colours and patterns. It often happens that the species is found on large barnacles.
On shoreline reefs, eastern coast of Samar. 20-25mm.
Green shell from SW. Indonesia.
Under rocks and stones, at low tide, Sature island, near Labuhanbajo, Flores. 25mm.

All pics © Olivier Caro