What exquisite detail on this little critter, the Flamingo Tongue (Cyphoma gibbosum). This beautiful sea snail feeds on certain species of soft corals and sea fans and can be found all over the Caribbean. You can often see the trailing scar where the snail has been feeding, but this is not lethal to the coral and it does heal with time. The actual snail shell is bright white and is surrounded by a colorful mantle. This can be retracted when attacked, exposing the white color. They are very small, reaching only around 1.5” long when fully grown and their larvae are extremely small, drifting in the sea as plankton until they eventually fall somewhere to settle and grow. This species used to be very common, but now there are fewer, partly due to collection by humans mistaking the shell to be the colorful part of the animal. It is now, with good reason, illegal in most countries to bring back these shells from your vacation.
Diving blog highlighting all the amazing under water creatures and beauty. Discover Belize’s newest and largest Marine Reserve and most biologically-diverse coral atoll in the Western Hemisphere with Turneffe Flats Diving team.