Species of the Month:

The Flamingo Tongue

These stunningly beautiful snails grow only to about 2.5 cm in length and are becoming increasingly rare as divers and snorkelers collect them under the mistaken assumption that it is the shell that is so pretty. In fact the shell is plain white. The colorful patterns are actually on a membrane that the snail stretches across the shell.  Once the animal dies, so does the color.  This colorful membrane is the equivalent of gills on fish, in that through it the snail breathes.  Flamingo Tongues are found on soft corals- sea fans & sea rods- because they actually feed on soft coral polyps. One can often see a feeding scar where the snail has passed, particularly on sea fans.

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