The queen conch (Strombus gigas) is a large, marine, gastropod mollusk. The majority of mollusks, including queen conch, are of the class Gastropoda, whose name translates from Latin as "stomach foot." Other types of mollusks include oysters, clams, octopus, and squid. Mollusks (from the Latin word molluscus, meaning "soft") are a phylum of invertebrates with over 100,000 known species.
Queen conchs are soft-bodied animals with an external, spiral-shaped shell with a glossy pink or orange interior. The queen conch lives in sand, seagrass bed, and coral reef habitats. It is found in warm, shallow water and is generally not found deeper than 70 feet (21 m) throughout the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, ranging as far north as Bermuda and as far south as Brazil.
Queen conchs achieve full size at about 3-5 years of age, growing to a maximum of about 12 inches (30.4 cm) long and weighing about 5 pounds (2.3 kg). The queen conch is a long-lived species, generally reaching 20-30 years old; however, the lifespan has been estimated as up to 40 years.
- NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources, Queen Conch (Strombus gigas), http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/invertebrates/queenconch.htm, accessed 14 July 2012
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