Calliostoma zizyphinum has a regularly conical, straight sided shell, up to 3 cm high and 3 cm broad, with a sharp apex and a flat base. The shell has regular spiral grooves and ridges and up to 12-13 whorls. The shell is very 'clean' and can be yellowish, pale pink or violet with streaks and blotches of brown, red or purple. Occasionally, individuals are white. The body tissue is also colourful and may be flecked with purple, crimson, reddish brown and yellow. The foot has 4-5 pairs of epipodial tentacles.The white morph Calliostoma zizyphinum, var. lyonsi, is sometimes considered a separate species (Fretter & Graham, 1994).
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