This species occurs in the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, tropical Indo-West Pacific, Australia and the Philippines. This sea snail lives on corals, rock reefs and rocky shores from the intertidal zone down to depths of 200 m.
The basic color of the shell is reddish-brown, with many whitish dots on the top of the dorsum, which sometimes shows a clear longitudinal line. The underside is light beige.
Frequently these shells are sold with a purple top, which is achieved by dipping the dorsum in acid.
In literature and on various websites the synonym Cypraea caputserpentis is still commonly used.
There are two subspecies :
- Monetaria caputserpentis caputserpentis Linnaeus (synonym : Cypraea caputserpentis caputserpentis Linnaeus, 1758)
- Monetaria caputserpentis caputophidii (Schilder, 1927)
- Cantera J. R. (1991). "First record of the Indo-Pacific gastropod Cypraea caputserpentis (Linnaeus, 1758) at Isla Gorgona, Colombia". Veliger 34: 85-87.
- Meyer C. 2003. Molecular systematics of cowries (Gastropoda: Cypraeidae) and diversification patterns in the tropics. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 79: 401-459. page(s): 411