Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Shell Fascination – the Golden Cowrie

The golden cowrie (Cypraea aurantium) has fascinated people because of its shiny, attractive shells way back hundreds of years ago and has been part of trades in different countries.
It has been noted as a high-rank symbol worn by Fiji rulers and were used as a currency throughout the South Pacific years ago. Until now, the shell is valued by shell collectors who are willing to pay a price especially for the rarer genus.

Golden cowries are molluscs with an egg-shape exoskeletons and a narrow opening in its flat bases. You can tell that this mollusc pays very important attention to its shell by covering it almost entirely when they move, thus the shell has high maintenance when it comes to polishing.

It is seldom seen since it spends most of their time under reef crevices and under the rocks, not only that, they only come out at night for its meal – sponges and algae.

However, like other animals these days, their population is declining due to habitat loss and over-harvesting. 

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