Common Name: Queen Conch
Scientific Name: Strombus gigas
Species: S. gigas
Queen conch is pronounced like “konk”. The Queen Conch is a large marine, Gastropod mollusk. The Queen Conch is commonly known as a decoration for its distinctly unique color and look. Its shell to me, makes it stick out when it’s around other like species. There are quite a few colors for its shell sometimes they are yellow, tan, rose, white, or cream, or sometimes blended together. The inside of its shell is usually an orange-yellow color.
The Queen Conchs usually achieve their full size at about 3-5 years of age; their size gets to a maximum of twelve inches long. They weigh up to about 5 pounds. It is soft-bodied, consisting of a black-speckled foot, a snout like a proboscis, a pair of tentacles, and 2 eye stalk topped with colorful yellow eyes. Strombus gigas’ usually live in mainly warm and shallow seas, from Bermuda in the north going down to Brazil. They are found throughout the islands of the Bahamas and the Caribbean.
Adult Conchs are mainly found in seagrass meadows, usually manatee or turtle grass. Sometimes they are found in sand flats and also can be found on reefs or in coral rubble. The Queen Conchs abundance is going down throughout the species’ range as a result of overfishing and poaching.
Populations of the species in Honduras, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic, in particular, are currently being exploited at rates that may be unsustainable. Their flesh is also used for fishing bait and the shells are sold in tourist stores. Fishing for the Queen conch has been banned in Florida and Bermuda, so far the population has been coming back from recovery.
The Queen conch is low in the food web. Many different species like to prey upon the Strombus gigas, such as reptiles, fish, crustaceans, cephalopods, mammals, and some other Gastropods. Twenty-two different species were observed either feeding on queen conchs or having remains in there stomach contents, including loggerhead turtles, eagle rays, and spiny lobsters. They compete for food with their other like species and some other crustaceans. It eats algae, edible debris, and coral reefs.
Author: Brittany O
Sources: zone/fun guides/key west/queen conch.htm - 9k- Photo credit: Bill Frank