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FAQs about Cowry Snails

Related Articles: Gastropods, Sea Slugs, Mollusks, Abalone,

Related FAQs: Marine Snails 1, Marine Snails 2, Marine Snails 3, Marine Snails 4, Snail ID 1, Snail ID 2, Snail Behavior, Snail Selection, Snail Compatibility, Snail Systems, Snail Feeding, Snail Disease, Snail Reproduction, Mollusks, Sea Slugs, Abalone,

Lynn, does this look like a cowry to you? B 10/2/12
<Yep, it sure does.  I'll gladly take a stab at an ID if Wei can get some good close-up photos of the cowry when its mantle is retracted and not obscuring the shell.  Also, I'd need to know the size.  Take care, Lynn Z>  10/2/12
Wei, can/would you send along a better resolved, close-up pic or two? BobF 10/2/12
Hitchhiker Snail ID / Fuzzy, Oval Snail with proboscis

Hello WWM Crew!
I had the pleasure of seeing Bob speak this weekend at MACNA.  Definitely an insightful and fascinating talk.
We encountered this snail-like hitchhiker while acclimating our corals from MACNA for quarantine.  It is dark colored and oval with a proboscis.  The unusual aspect are the pale fringe like fuzz that covers the entire shell when the snail is active.  The fuzz disappears when the snail is in its shell -- the fuzz gives it a fuzzy Chiton-like appearance, but doesn't have the requisite segments.  I also haven't seen the proboscis in pictures of Chitons I've looked at.  It is about half an inch ling and about a quarter of an inch wide. It is fairly fast - I would say it is comparable to a Trochus in speed.  I've attached a picture for your reference.  Please let me know if you'd like me to send more photos.  Would definitely appreciate your insight on what it is and whether we should be wary..
Thanks so much!
Wei

Re: Hitchhiker Snail ID / Fuzzy, Oval Snail with proboscis: Cowry – 10/2/12
Hey Bob,
<Sorry Wei, Lynn here this afternoon (but I’ll pass this along to him).>
Absolutely!  I've attached two full resolution shots that seem to be better lit than the initial one..  Let me know if these help.
<They do, thanks! Your little hitchhiker is most likely a cowry of some sort. The branched, soft tissue covering the shell is the snail’s mantle.  I’d be happy to pursue this further in hopes of identifying which species you have, but I’d need a couple of photos of the shell itself (without the obscuring mantle).  Also, if you could tell me the size of the shell, that would be super.  In the meantime, here are several links for more information/comparison:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gastropo.htm 
http://liveseashells.seashell-collector.com/browse/Cypraeidae  >
Thanks again for the wonder work you do - it was great to finally see you talk in person after all these years of reading your work and insight virtually.
Talk soon,
Wei
<Take care, Lynn Z>

Tiger Cowry, and [Mg]  2/27/12
I am currently fighting off a Bryopsis infestation using elevated magnesium (Tech M).
<Mmm>
 My Tiger Cowry, usually very mobile each evening, has not moved in two nights.  He shows little signs of distress other than the lack of relocation, but I am curious if you know of any sensitivity to elevated magnesium. 
<Oh yes... all Mollusks, not just Cypreids. Not just too high or low concentrations, but too far out of ratio w/ [Ca].>
Current level is approximately 1680 ppm.
Thanks,
JD
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Tiger Cowry  2/27/12
Thank you.  Very much appreciated.  I'll research proper ratios for future reference,
<Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mgmarart.htm
and the Related FAQs file linked above>
but I believe I'll relo him to my mini-tank for the duration of the treatment.
<Ah yes... I would definitely do so. BobF>
JD

Aiptasia/Control 4/21/2011
Hello Again,
<Hello Lisa>
I sent you an email a couple of weeks ago and thought I would give an update.
<Best to reply to original thread.>
I recently added a Strawberry Cowry to my tank, and oddly enough it is devouring the Aiptasia. I was just wondering if you have ever heard of this happening? Are they known to do this or have I just lucked out?
<I believe you lucked out. The beautiful Strawberry Cowry normally feeds on algae and detritus. I'm not aware of them feeding on Aiptasia or other Cnidarians.
Interesting to know this. Bob??><<Me neither>>
Thanks again to all your help!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Follow-up Re: Identifying Crab from the Keys: Likely Mithraculus sp.; Atlantic Deer Cowry -- 3/6/11
Hi Joe,
Oops, I just now saw the photo you sent of the cowry! It appears to be Macrocypraea cervus, aka the Atlantic Deer Cowry. This is a potentially very large snail (4--19cm/1.6-7.6') and is typically listed as an algal grazer. However, I wouldn't be surprised if it sampled/consumed sessile invertebrates if it got hungry enough. Here's a link with more photos:
http://www.gastropods.com/5/Shell_515.shtml
Hope that helps!
-Lynn Z

Bob Fenner------ 7/2/10
Hi Bob,
<Juerg>
do you know and thing about the shell item named:
CYPRAEA MICHELLE ----PALMYRA ISLAND, HAWAII ?
<I do not. Do have a volleyball friend who worked on Palmyra, and have wanted to go there for years. And have a "shell nut" friend, Marty Beals, of Tideline, who is a Cypraeid collector, expert. Am referring your message to him here. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
have a nice time, kindly, Juerg DEMONT

Money cowry eggs questions. 2/18/09
Hey all. I recently discovered a clutch of money cowry eggs in my tank
<Ahh! Cypraea moneta... along with C. caputserpentis, some of my fave animals for entrenched Bryopsis (even BGA!) control>
. I was wondering if you could suggest where I could find some information on rearing them.
<Mmm, there are bits in some recent books (Shimek, Pocket guide Invert.s...) but the Net and much co-reading may be your best bet, along with chatting on bb's>
I am looking for information regarding how long they incubate, do they hatch in a larva state, and what they eat.
<Oh! There are serious Cowry works in print that can/will reveal all this... Am friends with folks that are serious collectors, studiers of the family... A bit here re searching the literature:
http://wetwebmedia.com/litsrchart.htm>
I read on your site that they are usually unsuccessfully reared in tanks, but I hope that is not truly the case. Thanks for your time and advice.
Lori
attached is the coding for a photo of the cowry and the clutch of eggs.
[URL= http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2820326520102934547WjHzSe][IMG]
http://inlinethumb25.webshots.com/43736/2820326520102934547S200x200Q85.jpg[/IMG][/URL]
[img]http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t1/cnlholman01/DSC05448.jpg[/img]
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Cypraea moneta brooding 2/2/09
Hello All,
<Kazimierz>
I have two C. moneta (or C. annulus - I'm not sure) in my tank.
Yesterday I found one of them sitting on the eggs in the bottom of my Tunze skimmer.
<Neat!>
I discovered it by accident : that was a time to clean skimmer and I put it out the water for few minutes. I removed a snail - what was mistake - when skimmer landed back in the tank (I have a small tank without sump, everything is in display tank) probably cleaner shrimps did their job and all eggs disappeared.
<Ohhh>
Picture of the eggs is attached. Egg is elliptic in shape and size is 1-1,5mm, yellow color.
Now : I assume that eggs were C. moneta because it was sitting on them.
<Very likely so, yes>
Does it mean this species takes care about eggs ?
<Yes>
I have never heard about such practices among snails.
<Not uncommon amongst Cypraeids, some other families.
http://www.springerlink.com/content/t887063700707n56/>
second option is : maybe that was just a moment when snail was releasing eggs ?
<Mmm, possibly...>
I Googled internet but found nothing specific about C. moneta breeding experience. Is there anything at all about that ?
<In print references, yes. I didn't see (quickly) anything re for this species on a Net search>
thx in advance, Kazimierz
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Money Cowry Eggs - 6/1/07 Hey guys <Hey Niko> I have about 5 money cowries in my reef thank and one of them has laid eggs on the under side of my Fluval powerhead exhaust. <Neat!> I saw the cowry there today and decided to pick him off of the powerhead and sure enough there was a pile of yellow white eggs. I quickly put her back up there and she has been getting food and protecting the babies. I am worried about the babies survival. I have a mandarin goby, 2 cb erectus seahorses (doing the breeding dance every morning) and a ribbon eel. I have looked on the web everywhere to find out how to raise them but all I find is never bred in captivity or something to that extent. <Sounds like you've got a great opportunity to fill in some blanks in this area. I've heard of cowry eggs appearing in tanks now and then, but unfortunately, never of the young being successfully raised. One problem is that most cowry species hatch into free-swimming larvae called veligers and become food for corals and any number of other organisms in our tanks. Other species skip the free-swimming part. They simply hatch, crawl out, and begin their lives (direct development). Unfortunately, I don't believe money cowries (Cypraea moneta) are of this variety. Among other issues is what to feed the veligers once they've hatched. I can only guess that possibly one of the Phytoplankton products available might be worth trying. Just be careful with those. Too much can lead to an algal bloom. By the way, please do consider keeping records of this and any further events. If you can supplement with photos, that's even better! Any and all information you can gather and share, helps us all better understand and increase the chances of one day successfully raising these beauties.> Any suggestions on perhaps using a breeder net and algae clip or something? <See above.> Thanks Niko <You're very welcome. Good luck and please keep in touch! -Lynn>

Cowry snail eggs 4/12/04 Hello, I am really new to this. I have looked for the answer but probably didn't look far enough. I have had a cowry snail in my tank for almost a year. Two months ago we introduced another to the tank. We went on vacation for a week and found one of the cowry snails on a nest of eggs. Everything I have looked up said the eggs would be white. These are pink in color. The female ( I'm assuming it's the female) hasn't left the eggs alone since I we have noticed them. She cleans them several times a day and I do believe she is taking care of them really well. <very interesting! Have you taken any photos to share? I'd love to see them... even use them on our website here and elsewhere in presentations with your permission> My question is will they hatch? <its a fairly uncommon event overall... but what species do you have? We need this to chat further about them. You might look on the Breeders Registry online for advice or data on whatever species you have> and what should or could I do to protect them from everyone else in the tank. It looks like there is 200 or so eggs. I wish I had a digital camera to so you what I am talking about. But I am nervous about loosing the babies when they hatch. Please help. <I wish I could my friend... I really don't know much about rearing gastropods. And not knowing the species will keep us almost completely in the dark. Look at our website or books, and especially look online at the shell collectors websites (toggle keywords "cowry, shell, collecting" on Google.com). We can proceed from there. Best of luck! Anthony>

Cowries/Feeding 10/11/06 I am one of the thousands of people wondering what a Reticulated Cowry eats (Cypraea maculata) Not 100% sure that's what these specimens are in my tank. But are very very similar. I have done a lot of research and have come up with the only clear conclusion being that, they do in fact eat... <Yes, all animals need to eat.> Are they herbivores, carnivores or omnivores? <Most are carnivores, will eat some algae, not safe with sponges, corals, etc. Do best with plenty of live rock in the tank. Supplemental feedings of shrimp, clam, etc is necessary for their survival.> Hopefully you can shed a little more light on the subject. <Yes, do read here and linked files above. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mollusca.htm If necessary I will send small pictures for identification. Logan <James (Salty Dog)>

Cowries Bob, I have kept a cowry in a 10 gallon tank for 4 months, along with live rock and a Domino damsel, and I recently purchased a 55 gallon tank and is currently in the process of cycling. To accelerate the process I have added my live sand from the old tank to the new, and added the domino damsel as well as a velvet damsel. Both seem to be doing fine, however when I moved the cowry (Cypraea mauritiana) to the new tank, she has stayed retracted in her shell. This morning I moved her back in the old 10 gallon tank, waiting to see if she will move at all well that usually takes place at night). I have tested the water in the new tank and it was PH 8.2, Nitrite 0, Ammonia 0.25-0.50, Nitrates 0ppm(I think,...I'm new to this). <Mmm, the Cypraeids are sensitive to "new tank" conditions... the ammonia was likely harsh here... and a good idea to not lift these mollusks into the air (better to move on their rock in a bag, plastic jar...> Do you think I should have waited longer to introduce the cowry to the new tank? <Yes my friend> She usually feeds on algae (scraping rocks or the glass). Also, I haven't been able to find any info on cowries. Would you suggest a particular web page? Please advise.. Thank you, D. <Please insert the name of the family "Cypraeidae" into your search engines. Not much of "practical husbandry" on these shellfish on the net... but some. Perhaps you will write a definitive piece on their captive care. Bob Fenner>

Cowry snails... not for aquarium use 1/25/05 Hi everyone, Long time reader first time writer. <welcome> I purchased two unknown snails rather irresponsibly today because they were really colorful and really cheap. Sorry- I had one weak-unplanned moment. The first one I IDed right away when I got home-flamingo tongue($3.99). <yikes> He is going back to the LFS tomorrow, I don't have any gorgonians and if I did I don't think I would want him eating them. <ah, yes... good> The other which I can't ID has spots that resemble the flamingo tongue but the snail is snow white the spots are bright pink ($2.99) (each spot is made up of micro pink dots that are grouped together and appear to be one pink dot) and the shell has fleshy white spikes. <sounds like another cowry... another carnivore... likely obligate, and in need of return> I know the flamingo tongues shell is actually covered with skin and not actually colored in the way it appears and this snail seems the same except that the shell is more rounded instead of long, the colors are way different and the spikes are present. <sigh, yes... another cowry that should not have been imported or purchased likely> The snail moves fast and the foot actually extends to almost twice the length of the shell. The foot is white with pink lines that extend outward away from the center. The 'antenna' are brown. I tried with two digital cameras to get a pic but he just comes out as a white blotch. Thanks for your help now and in the past. Zane <best of luck/life. Anthony> Invert Ids: Cowry (Cypraea vitellus) and a Flatworm (Amphiscolops sp.) 3/21/07 WWM crew, <Hi Stephen, Mich here.> I wanted to see if I could get an ID one the attached photos. First is what I think is a Cypraea vitellus. Is this correct? <I would agree with your identification.> What is your experience with this species in a mixed reef? <Nothing specific to this species. Generally cowry snails grow too large and cumbersome for most reef systems. Several are carnivorous, some are herbivorous and for many their diets are not well understood. Probably not the most suitable choice for your reef.> Second is an unknown invert I saw in my refugium. Is about 3-4mm in size, translucent as seen in photo and used a rhythmic motion for propulsion along the front glass. First one I have seen and have not added anything new to the tank in 4 or 5 months. What is your advice of this living in the fuge? <Is a harmless Acoel, Amphiscolops sp. Please see here for a nearly identical picture: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/flatworms.htm > Thank you <Welcome!> and best regards, <And to you, Mich> Stephen

Cowry Questions Hey Crew, <Hello Peter> Firstly thanks for all the great info available on your site - it's helped me many times in the past. <Glad to realize> My questions are about Cowries. I've had one of these wonderful creatures for about a year now until the recent tragedy. Normally he moves along the walls of the tank and over the live rock at night and attaches himself to the wall during the day. I noticed about 5 or so days ago that he was his side on the bottom of the tank resting against the wall and he had gone right back into his shell. Upon closer inspection I saw one of our small crabs (probably about 1.5 - 2.0cm across) picking around near him. I didn't see the crab attack the cowry and looked to be trying the eat the algae under him. <Doubtful> I moved the Cowry away from the crab just in case and later that night the cowry seemed fine and had gone back to exploring the tank. This was until about 2 days ago...in the morning the cowry was attached the to the side of the tank as he normally would be. I changed about 10% of the water in the tank that morning. As the cowry was attached near the top of the tank, this left him out of the water for a minute or two - should I have moved him down into the water? <No, I wouldn't have> A few hours later I noticed the cowry had fallen from the side of the tank and was back in his shell. I left him alone as he was close enough to the side of the tank to move if he needed to. The cowry stayed in his shell for about 2 days until this morning. When I got up the lights of the tank were still off but the cowry shell had been moved but he was still in his shell. Then about 20 min.s after I noticed he had been moved again but this time the cowry was out of his shell. <!> I grabbed a torch so I could see what was going on and saw a crab ripping at the exposed cowry with another crab waiting near by. <The animal had been removed from its shell either forcibly or post dying> Sorry for the long description, now to my questions: Do you have any idea what may have killed the cowry? Could have been the first crab, water quality or old age? <Yes to any, combination of the above or other factors> Do you think he had actually been dead for about 2 days and the crabs had gotten him out of the shell so they could have a feed? <Very likely already dead> Do you know how long cowries normally live for? <Yes... I collect Cypraeids (their shells, but am familiar with their life history), several years... some larger species for decades> He had plenty of algae to feed on so starvation shouldn't be the problem. I also don't think my problem is water quality as I've had the cowry for a year and followed the same procedures with water changes throughout, although you never know. I'd love to get another cowry but I am a bit concerned that the same may happen again. Thanks in advance for your help. Peter <I suspect that having crabs in the same system with this animal were a large part of the reason for its loss. Bob Fenner>

Troublesome Cowry Hi, guys.... <Hello Ralph> First, thanks so much for your outstanding website, and all the information you have provided to us aquarists; you are truly in incredible resource. Second, I would like to ask what I hope is a simple question. I have a 140 gallon reef tank, and all is generally going well. However, due to an algae problem in the past, I introduced into the tank, among other harmless but algae-eating creatures, a large 3" tiger cowry. Mr. Cowry and friends (including several tangs) seem to be doing their job, as the hair and "turf" algae is much reduced. However, I have a blue "night light" in the tank, and saw something last night that disturbed me. The Cowry appeared to be nibbling on the large orange Scolymia that I've had in the tank for quite some time and which had been doing very well up until about two week ago. The Scolymia hasn't been looking good recently, and I am wondering whether the Cowry is trying to eat it? A green and purple open brain coral has also not been looking very good during the same 2-3 week time period. One other question, if I might ask? Within the past week, a torch coral and a green star polyp rock have fallen from their perches on the live rock to the bottom of the tank (they, unlike most of the rest of the corals, were not affixed with epoxy). Could Mr. Cowry be responsible for these accidents? I am wondering how much damage this little rascal might be doing. <Cowries are not a desirable reef inhabitant. Some are known to eat other invertebrates and because of their size, they tend to be bulldozers as you describe. To be on the safe side I would see if I could trade it in on a more desirable and effective algae eater such as a Sailfin Blenny (Lawnmower Blenny). James (Salty Dog)><<Mmm, actually, some of the small cowry species are quite beneficial to have in most all reef set-ups. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gastropo.htm RMF>>

Troublesome Cowry - II Hi, James...Thanks much for your suggestion. Yes, I think your analogy of the cowry to a bulldozer (like a bull in a china shop?) is a good one. I will try to trade him in for something less wild and crazy, such as a lawnmower blenny. Thanks! <You're more than welcome Ralph. It will be a beneficial trade to say the least. James (Salty Dog)>

Troublesome Mr. Cowry in the Neighborhood, Caught red-proboscised - As told by Mr. Rogers Hey, Salty Dog...Here's an update on the cowry situation. I caught Mr., Cowry red-handed tonight, with the help of the blue light posse. He was hunched over Ms. Scolymia with weapon in hand, and when I put the net into the neighborhood to capture the assailant, he had a tight hold on Ms. Scolymia and I had to shake her loose. The defendant (Mr. Cowry) was arrested and tried for murder, then promptly convicted by a jury of his peers on the basis of eye-witness testimony. He has been sentenced to life imprisonment in the sump (though he may get out for good behavior if the social worker who comes to service the tank next Thursday is willing to find him a new home...if not, I'll get him to the local half-way house (LFS)). The victim is in shock, and in critical condition. Her future is unknown, and we are praying for her survival. <Very comical way of describing the action> Yeah, I want to laugh, but only because I feel like crying. So much to learn in this hobby. What have I learned? When tiger cowries get large, they can be very dangerous characters. :-( <I hope your Scolymia recovers, Ralph. James (Salty Dog)>

Cowry: Cypraea miliaris Hello crew! You guys/gals are the best! What an incredible website! I can't even begin to imagine how difficult it must have been when a wealth of information wasn't readily available at one's fingertips. This hobby is very lucky to have such an active and knowledgeable community. Thank you all for your hard work and dedication. <Thank you> Just a quick question, I am looking for information on a cowry which arrived with some live rock. I am fairly certain it is a Cypraea miliaris which is pictured on WWM. I did several searches but I can't find anything relevant. Is it reef safe? Anything particular I should know about it? Thanks, Michelle in the Poconos <Should be fine... does eat different algae, small invertebrates associated with same, some sponge material... not fishes or large (macroscopically appreciable) motile or sedentary invertebrates. Bob Fenner, who has in-laws in the Poconos>

Cowries In The Home Aquarium <Hi, MikeD here> Hi cant seem to find much info at all on cowries<Not surprising as there's not much written> have come by one and it sits still where it is in the day retracting most of its mantle and cruises around obviously at night as it is in a different spot most every morning with its mantle fully over its shell till I turn the lights on which is I believe generally what they are supposed to do.<Correct> It is a beautiful creature so I would like to do my best by it is it eating the algae as I think or should I be feeding it something else? Any other info on this would be greatly appreciated.<It depends on the species of Cowry and the size of the specimen that you have. Smaller ones are often grazers on algae and micro fauna that grows on the glass and LR, while larger species like the Deer or Measeled Cowries turn predator/scavenger as they get larger (up to 4"-5" in some cases). I've got a couple of Atlantic Deer Cowries that I've had for several years now that scavenge for the most part, but as they are in FOWLR tanks with predatory fish, I've often seen them consuming pieces of raw shrimp that the fish fail to eat as well and thus earn their keep in with Lionfish, Squirrelfish and Anglerfish.>

Distressed Leather (Coral)! I have a Toadstool Leather and have had it about 3 weeks. It opens up nicely and it have a yellow stalk with a tan-colored cap. Its polyps are yellow in color also. My problem is that at the very bottom of the stalk there is a hole about the size of a dime. I poked my finger in it to make sure there was nothing in there and there was nothing I could feel. The hole, however, widened. The tissue just sort of dissolved into a cloud. The part of the stalk that has the hole is this curved bottom part that is attached to some gravel. Do you think I should cut off the curved bottom part or do you think there is something eating it. <Hmm.. hard to say without a lot of observation. I'd definitely cut out the damaged areas. Keep an eye on the coral for a while; if something is eating the coral, you'd want to identify what it is.> The only thing that I can possibly think might be munching is a cowry that I have. I had a bluish sponge growing the skeleton of my torch coral and the cowry completed ate it all off. The sponge had the same sort of feel as the leather so I'm wondering if he is doing the damage. <Definitely a possibility. Consider this Cowry your suspect, but do run some water tests to confirm that water quality is up to par. There is most likely a single cause, and your continued close observation will help zero in on it.> Other than that, I just have some Damsels, a Firefish and a Tomato Clown. Thanks, Kevin <Well, Kevin- just keep up the observations, and do consider excising the damaged tissue. With good conditions, these corals are remarkably resilient and virtually indestructible! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Troublesome Cowry Hi, guys.... <Hello Ralph> First, thanks so much for your outstanding website, and all the information you have provided to us aquarists; you are truly in incredible resource. Second, I would like to ask what I hope is a simple question. I have a 140 gallon reef tank, and all is generally going well. However, due to an algae problem in the past, I introduced into the tank, among other harmless but algae-eating creatures, a large 3" tiger cowry. Mr. Cowry and friends (including several tangs) seem to be doing their job, as the hair and "turf" algae is much reduced. However, I have a blue "night light" in the tank, and saw something last night that disturbed me. The Cowry appeared to be nibbling on the large orange Scolymia that I've had in the tank for quite some time and which had been doing very well up until about two week ago. The Scolymia hasn't been looking good recently, and I am wondering whether the Cowry is trying to eat it? A green and purple open brain coral has also not been looking very good during the same 2-3 week time period. One other question, if I might ask? Within the past week, a torch coral and a green star polyp rock have fallen from their perches on the live rock to the bottom of the tank (they, unlike most of the rest of the corals, were not affixed with epoxy). Could Mr. Cowry be responsible for these accidents? I am wondering how much damage this little rascal might be doing. <Cowries are not a desirable reef inhabitant. Some are known to eat other invertebrates and because of their size, they tend to be bulldozers as you describe. To be on the safe side I would see if I could trade it in on a more desirable and effective algae eater such as a Sailfin Blenny (Lawnmower Blenny). James (Salty Dog)><<Mmm, actually, some of the small cowry species are quite beneficial to have in most all reef set-ups. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gastropo.htm RMF>>

Troublesome Cowry - II Hi, James...Thanks much for your suggestion. Yes, I think your analogy of the cowry to a bulldozer (like a bull in a china shop?) is a good one. I will try to trade him in for something less wild and crazy, such as a lawnmower blenny. Thanks! <You're more than welcome Ralph. It will be a beneficial trade to say the least. James (Salty Dog)>

Troublesome Mr. Cowry in the Neighborhood, Caught red-proboscised - As told by Mr. Rogers Hey, Salty Dog...Here's an update on the cowry situation. I caught Mr., Cowry red-handed tonight, with the help of the blue light posse. He was hunched over Ms. Scolymia with weapon in hand, and when I put the net into the neighborhood to capture the assailant, he had a tight hold on Ms. Scolymia and I had to shake her loose. The defendant (Mr. Cowry) was arrested and tried for murder, then promptly convicted by a jury of his peers on the basis of eye-witness testimony. He has been sentenced to life imprisonment in the sump (though he may get out for good behavior if the social worker who comes to service the tank next Thursday is willing to find him a new home...if not, I'll get him to the local half-way house (LFS)). The victim is in shock, and in critical condition. Her future is unknown, and we are praying for her survival. <Very comical way of describing the action> Yeah, I want to laugh, but only because I feel like crying. So much to learn in this hobby. What have I learned? When tiger cowries get large, they can be very dangerous characters. :-( <I hope your Scolymia recovers, Ralph. James (Salty Dog)>

Cowry ID: Likely Arabian Cowry -- 8/16/08 Hey everyone, <Hi Doran, Lynn here this afternoon.> Love your site. I account for 5-10 hits nearly everyday. <I'm glad you're finding it useful!> I did what you're not supposed to do. <Uh-oh> I bought a snail without knowing for sure what it is. <Say it isn't so!> It's a Cowry, but I can't figure out what species. <I think it's most likely a variety of Arabian Cowry (genus Mauritia), but it could also be something in the genus Leporicypraea. Complicating matters is the degree to which these Cowries can vary in appearance, along with the fact that we don't know where yours came from. Please see the following links for comparison: Arabian Cowry: http://www.gastropods.com/7/Shell_37.html Asiatic Arabian Cowry: http://www.gastropods.com/5/Shell_1715.html Giant Arabian Cowry: http://www.gastropods.com/0/Shell_560.html Humped Cowry: http://www.gastropods.com/1/Shell_4361.html Here's a terrific site showing photos for both genera (each photo is a link): http://www.gastropods.com/Taxon_pages/TN_Family_CYPRAEIDAE_CYPRAEINAE_MAURITIINI.html > Picture is attached, feel free to use it as you see fit. <Thank you!> Hopefully you can help, so I can figure out how to take care of it. <Arabian Cowries (if that's indeed what you have) are mostly herbivorous but will take the occasional meaty fare. If the algae supply starts to run low, you can try supplementing with something like dried Seaweed/Nori sheets that are available at most fish stores and Asian grocers/markets. I would also offer the occasional meaty bit (of marine origin) as well.> Thanks again, Doran Figart <You're very welcome. That's a pretty little Cowry you've got there. Take care, -Lynn>

Re: Cowry ID: Likely Arabian Cowry -- 8/16/08 Oops, now it's attached. <Appreciate it!> <Take care, -Lynn>

Cypraea annulus? Hi <Greetings> Firstly, thanks for your excellent web resources. They come to good use even here in remote Finland! <Ahh, good> I bought some what was supposed to be Cypraea annulus. But, they do not have the yellowish ring that I see in reference works. They hide during the days for example in the sand, and come out at night. The "mantle" that is visible on the picture can totally engulf the animal. It also has something that looks kind of like polyps, especially when they come up from the sand. I also observed, that as the animal was close to a stinging fellow, it withdrew the mantel on that side. I have not caught these guys doing anything naughty, and bought them in the hope of being good herbivores. Thank you in advance, Cai - Helsinki, Finland <Looks like a "money cowry", Cypraea moneta to me... A good algae eater for reef aquariums as well as the golden. Bob Fenner>

Cowries and giant clams Hi, <Howdy> I added a giant clam to my aquarium a week ago. It seemed to acclimate pretty well, and was generally being left alone by all others in the tank, until today. This afternoon I found a cowry had latched onto the clams foot. <Foot as at the base? The byssus?> I didn't want to wait around to see if it was just passing by, so I moved it off and relocated the clam to a less vulnerable spot. The cowry played dead for most of the afternoon, the clam seemed to be ok with the spot I placed it, so no big deal, right? Now tonight I find the cowry is on the clam again. This time it's stuck on the clams side. Does he have the ability to drill through a giant clam shell with his radula?? <Not likely. Cypraeids don't prey on Tridacnids as far as I'm aware> I have not been able to figure out if he's going to kill my clam or just give up and go away. Please help. thanks, eve <Very likely the cowry is simply "looking for food" on what it perceives as an "inanimate object". I would not be concerned here. Bob Fenner>

What do Tiger Cowry's eat? Is there a resource where I can look up things like this? >> Of the two hundred or so mollusks that are cowries (family Cypraeidae)... most feeding habits are unknown... For Cypraea tigris, small ones don't need to be specifically fed... larger specimens are predators and detritivores... and readily accept bits of fish flesh, mussel, pelleted dried-prepared foods (placed near them)... You might start with the Baensch Marine Atlases as a good, solid invertebrate reference. Bob Fenner, who has hunted for Cypraeids a few places in the world.

Cowries Bob, I have kept a cowry in a 10 gallon tank for 4 months, along with live rock and a Domino damsel, and I recently purchased a 55 gallon tank and is currently in the process of cycling. To accelerate the process I have added my live sand from the old tank to the new, and added the domino damsel as well as a velvet damsel. Both seem to be doing fine, however when I moved the cowry (Cypraea mauritiana) to the new tank, she has stayed retracted in her shell. This morning I moved her back in the old 10 gallon tank, waiting to see if she will move at all well that usually takes place at night). I have tested the water in the new tank and it was PH 8.2, Nitrite 0, Ammonia 0.25-0.50, Nitrates 0ppm(I think,...I'm new to this). <Mmm, the Cypraeids are sensitive to "new tank" conditions... the ammonia was likely harsh here... and a good idea to not lift these mollusks into the air (better to move on their rock in a bag, plastic jar...> Do you think I should have waited longer to introduce the cowry to the new tank? <Yes my friend> She usually feeds on algae (scraping rocks or the glass). Also, I haven't been able to find any info on cowries. Would you suggest a particular web page? Please advise.. Thank you, D. <Please insert the name of the family "Cypraeidae" into your search engines. Not much of "practical husbandry" on these shellfish on the net... but some. Perhaps you will write a definitive piece on their captive care. Bob Fenner>

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