My favourite cowrie is the wonderful Tiger Egg Cowrie. It’s taken me 4 years in Indonesian to finally find one. Another great find in Ambon.
Like all the Cowries, the amazing patterns and colours are not actually on their shells. The colours and patterns you see come from the cowrie’s mantle shirt, which is the top of the cowrie’s foot. It extends out and up to completely cover the shell. This is why it is so important not to collect these creatures, especially if you think it would look so lovely on your desk….not only should we not be taking anything from the ocean, but in this case you would be left with a white shell.
You can see the Tiger Cowrie is feeding on particles collecting on the sponge it is on. The tube-like mouth is called the proboscis and is fascinating to watch as it seems to be gulping down its meal.
They are about 1.5cm (5/8”) long and are very rare.