Purl Diver Collection Flamingo Sunset

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This picture taken while with my son on Little Cayman Island is of a Flamingo Tongue Cowrie. It’s fairly common on Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and Southern Atlantic coral reefs. The shell of this snail is actually white to cream colored with no markings at all. The beautiful coloration of irregular orange spots ringed with black is actually a thin skin called a mantle, which the animal retracts when it senses danger. In this picture if you look close, you can see a thin area in the middle of the shell where the mantle is partially withdrawn. They feed on gorgonians and other soft corals, which is where I found this one. They are usually about an inch long, but can grow to almost two.

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