Queen conch

Queen conch
Queen conch
Phylum Mollusca (snails, nudibranchs, bivalves, squid & octopus)
Strombus gigas
0 to 100+ ft
This large snail is beloved by all Caribbean islanders for its tasty meat. The exterior of the shell is light yellow to orange or brown, though sand and algae may obscure these colors. The interior of the shell is smooth and beautifully colored leading to its use in jewelry. The animal lives inside the shell moving itself across the sandy bottom with a large scythe-like "radula". If approached slowly, two eyes on long stalks extending from the thin end of the shell may be visible, however the animals will quickly retreat into the safety of the shell when disturbed. The conch is found throughout the Caribbean, including the Cayman Islands, however due to widespread collecting, conchs are now less abundant in shallow water. This large snail inhabits all sandy environments including patch reefs, seagrass beds and shallow lagoons.

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