Pleuroploca gigantea

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Geographic Range

These are marine animals and are found from North Carolina to Florida and into Mexico.

Habitat

The Florida horse conch lives among the sand and weeds in the shallow marine waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Physical Description

The Florida horse conch is the largest snail to be found in the American waters, sometimes reaching a length of two feet. It has ten whorls, and its shoulders bear large, low nodules. The operculum is a leathery brown color, the aperture is orange, and the animal itself is brick red in color.

Reproduction

Reproduction is sexual. The female attaches capsule-like structures to rock or old shell. Each capsule contains several dozen eggs for the young snails to feed upon. The capsule contains 5-6 circular rims, and they are laid in clumps. The young emerge and are an orange color, approximately 3.5 inches in diameter.

Behavior

Florida horse conchs are usually solitary creatures.

Food Habits

The Florida horse conch are carnivores that feed on bivalves and other snails.

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Florida horse conchs are used as food and are said to taste "peppery." They also eat other bivalves that may sometimes be pests to man.

Conservation Status

The Florida horse conch is very common and is found quite easily around the Florida coast in the Atlantic ocean.

  • IUCN Red List [Link]
    Not Evaluated

Contributors

Amanda Miller (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Glossary

Atlantic Ocean

the body of water between Africa, Europe, the southern ocean (above 60 degrees south latitude), and the western hemisphere. It is the second largest ocean in the world after the Pacific Ocean.

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Nearctic

living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.

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bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.

coastal

the nearshore aquatic habitats near a coast, or shoreline.

ectothermic

animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.

References

Abbott, R. 1954. American Seashells. New York City, New York: D. Van Nostrand Company.

Abbott, R. 1961. How To Know the American Marine Shells. New York City, New York: North American Library.

Abbott, R. 1986. Seashells of North America. New York City, New York: Golden Press.

Morris, P. 1973. A Field Guide to Shells of the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and the West Indies. Boston, MA, USA: Houghton Mifflin Company.