Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
from the May 29, 2011 Newsletter issued
from written at Mayan Beach
Garden Inn 20 kms north of Mahahual, Quintana Roo, México
A seashell picked off the beach here this week appears above. An underside view showing its upturned front tip is below:
Volunteer shell identifier Bea in Ontario pegs the shell as belonging to a Hawkwing Conch, STROMBUS RANINUS, found throughout the Caribbean, including southern Florida.
We've already seen another conch, the Queen Conch, Strombus gigas, which is illustrated and described at http://www.backyardnature.net/yucatan/conch.htm.
All members of the genus Strombus are thought of as "true conchs," and characterized as medium to large sea snails. About 50 Strombus species exist, but only six live in the greater Caribbean region. Earlier in evolutionary history many more species existed, but most species went extinct. Today most true conchs survive in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
Like the Queen Conch, Hawkwing Conchs are favored foods of some. They themselves eat mostly algae.
By the way, consensus among folks who should know, including those at conchworld.com, say that "conch" is pronounced with a hard K: "Konk."