16 June 2010

Upclose with a Florida Fighting Conch

I've heard of Florida Fighting Conch (Strombus alatus) before but I've never seen a live specimen. While on my Gulf Coast adventure I found quite a few cooperating conchs. This one had a very rich orange lip color and was found on Marco Island. I took a little video of it demonstrating it's fighting ability though in actuality this is a benign little mollusk that feeds on algae.

I just love those mollusk eyes. This conch has a sharp operculum that it uses to defend itself and to quickly escape predators. They actually use this foot to sort of hop over the sand quickly.

The shell is at most only 3 inches long. These conchs are found easily on the sandy Gulf Coast of Florida. They also are sold in the aquariums to clean algae from the bottom.

If you're walking on the beaches of Floirda check out this beautiful conch species. It's by far a quite entertaining animal. Just remember to return it back to the water when you're done with your inspection.

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