Mole Cowrie (added 26 Jan 99) [116K]

This Mole Cowry's mantle is completely covering its brown shell. The seam at the juncture of the two halves of the fleshy mantle is visible down the center of the shell crown. The mantle is thick, but traces of the shell's brown color are visible through the translucent flesh. This shot was taken during a night dive, when cowries emerge from their daytime hiding places.

During daylight, the best way to find live cowries is to look under large rocks or flat pieces of dead "table" coral (large and flat). Sometimes they may be spotted inside holes or in the dark underneath a large coral head. Cowries are all safe to handle, unlike their cone shell cousins.

Mole Cowries are very common in the Indo-Pacific. This specimen is about two inches in length.

Identification: Cypraea talpa

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