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Queen Conch

About Queen Conch :
The Queen Conch also known as Pink Conch. It's scientific name Strombus gigas, which is named by Linnaeus in the year 1758. It is a gastropod, soft-bodied type of mollusk that is protected by a very hard shell known as Queen Conch shell. This invertebrate without a backbone is generally found in warm, shallow waters in grass beds of the Caribbean Sea.

Physical features :

  1. The body is divided into three parts; the head, visceral mass, and the foot, which is very small.
  2. The conch has four tentacles on their head; it has light-sensitive eyeshot on each larger tentacles. The smaller pair of tentacles helps them to smell and sense the touch.
  3. They are soft-bodied animals that have a hard external shell made up of calcium carbonate, a hard internal shell, or no shell at all. They are also known as Queen Conch shell.
  4. Queen conchs have an external, spiral-shaped shell with a shiny pink or orange color inside.
  5. Queen conchs can grow up to full size till 3 to 5 years of age; it can grow up to 12 inches long and weigh about 5 pounds.

    Reproduction :
    Queen conch has both sexes and they reproduce through internal fertilization. After mating with each other, females lay egg masses that contain thousands of eggs, which hatch after 5 days. Their larvae spend about 20 to 40 days floating and feeding on plankton, before settling to the bottom. Once they are in adult form, they start grazing on algae and detritus.

    Life span :
    The queen conch live for a long time, they are generally 20 to 30 years old. However, the lifespan has been estimated as up to 50 years.

    Habitat :
    The queen conch usually lives in sand, sea grass bed, or coral reef habitats. They live in warm, shallow water and are generally not found deeper than 21 m.

    Distribution :
    The queen conch is found in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, and ranges far North in Bermuda and South in Brazil.

    Population Trends :
    Queen Conch population is declining day-by-day because of over fishing and poaching. Populations of the species in Honduras, and the Dominican Republic, are currently exploited at rates that may be unsustainable.

    Threats :
    There is a concern about the conch fishery as populations have been decreasing. Their meat is used for consumption and as fishing bait. Many trading companies from Caribbean countries are known for unsustainable and illegal harvest, including fishing of these species in foreign waters and illegal international trade. It is a common and widespread problem in every region.

    Diet :
    Queen Conch eats grasses, algae, or floating organic debris. They have an organ named radula, it is a kind of rough tongue that has thousands of tiny denticles.

    The shell :
    The Queen Conch has a large, spiral shell lined in pink, they are known as queen conch shell. In the conch's mantle, there is a thin layer of tissue located between the body and the shell. The conch is made up of calcium carbonate that it extracts from the seas. The lip of the shell is wide and there are spines to defend them from many predators.