12 Nov '14, 2am

Cowries on Singapore shores

Cowries produce among the most beautiful and highly prized shells. One cowrie was even used as currency by Polynesians in the past; it is called the Money cowrie (Cypraea moneta )! However, a living cowrie is even more fascinating than an empty shell of a dead cowrie. Where seen? Some species of cowries are still common on all our shores. Even these, however, are usually well camouflaged or well hidden. They are usually more active at night. Two-in-one shell: A young cowrie's first shell is a narrow spiral. As it matures, it encloses this spiral shell with a larger outer shell which has the typical cowrie shape and slit-like opening with teeth. As the animal grows, the inner spiral layers may be reabsorbed to make room for the larger animal and the material reused to build a larger outer shell. A damaged shell appears to be a shell within a shell, but it is really one cont...

Full article: http://www.wildsingapore.com/wildfacts/mollusca/gastropod...

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