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The Flamingo Tongue Snail March 20, 2009

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Ecology.
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On my recent Cozumel trip I snapped this photo of three Flamingo Tongue Snails, which I posted a few days ago. I thought I’d republish it (in full size if you click through the picture), to point out how this beautiful animal has needlessly suffered at the hands of divers and snorkellers, becoming much less common that it once was.

The shell of the Cyphoma Gibbosum is actually plain white or a light apricot colour, and the colour is actually living tissue (mantle) which will die and fall off once the snail is removed from the water. So while it looks like a pretty thing to collect, it will soon be disappointing.

The bright colour of the living snail is a warning to predators of its distastefulness, believed to be a result of the aggregation of chemicals derived from the Gorgonians upon which it feeds.

Bottom line is that you’ll be much happier with a photograph than the real thing.

Cozumel, Feb 17, 2009

San Francisco Wall, Cozumel, Mexico. Feb 17, 2009.

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1. Cozumel Wrap Up « Chronicle of an older diver - March 21, 2009

[…] Chronicle of an older diver Never too old to go diving « The Flamingo Tongue Snail […]

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