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Blog

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.

CREATURE FEATURE | FLAMINGO TONGUE

Nick Barker

flamingotongue.jpg

What exquisite detail on this little critter, the Flamingo Tongue (Cyphoma gibbosum). This beautiful sea snail feeds on certain species of soft corals and Gorgonian 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 grow back with time. The actual shell of the snail is bright white and it is actually the mantle that surrounds the shell with color. This can be retracted when attacked exposing the white color. They are very small reaching only around 1.5” long full 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 to bring back these shells from your vacations in most countries.