Flamingo Tongue (Cyphoma gibbosum)

Also known as Allied Cowry, Flamingo Tongue Cowrie, Flamingo Tongue Snail

Description

Also known as Allied Cowry, Cowry Allies, Flamingo Tongue Cowrie, Flamingo Tongue Snail.

Found living with their host on the under side of Gorgonian branches where they browse the living corals for their food source, over coral and rocky reefs.
They feed from their hosts gorgonians, by scraping the coral polyps off with their radula leaving a visible scar, this is not lethal to the coral as it will regrow.
Length - 3.5cm
Depth - 0-29m
Widespread Western Atlantic, Caribbean

This species is uncommon because of over-collecting due to the bright colours, however the bright colours come from the animals mantle not the shell!

Ovulidae usually have plain shells and brightly coloured mantles.
The Cowries are probably the most admired and sought after by shell collectors.
Cowries have few predators, but the mollusc-eating cones like Conus textile and octopus can inject venom into the cowry's flesh through a small hole and then sucks out the contents. Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flamingo_tongue_snail

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