The Shell

The Queen Conch has a large, spiral shell often lined in pink. The conch's mantle, a thin layer of tissue located between the body and the shell, creates the shell. The conch builds the hard shell from calcium carbonate that it extracts from the seas. The shell is up to 1 foot (30 cm) long. The lip of the shell is flared and there are spines to deter its many predators.

Illustration of Conch ShellAnatomy
Queen Conch is one of the largest snails and protected by a very hard shell. The body is divided into the head, the visceral mass, and the foot (which is small). The small operculum (which is like a trap door) is located on the foot and looks a bit like (and works like) a claw. Young conchs can bury themselves in the sand when they are in danger. Conchs have a characteristic leaping motion, using their pointed, sickle-shaped, horny operculum to propel themselves forward.

CONTINUE: How Does a Queen Conch Grow»