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Flamingo Tongue Snail » Characteristics and Way of Life

The Flamingo Tongue Snail (Cyphoma Gibbosum) is a rare animal, a very colorful mollusk that lives among the corals of the Caribbean where it gets its food.

This rare species is an invertebrate that forms part of the phylum of molluscs, specifically of the gastropod family.

Characteristics of the Flamingo Tongue Snail

The Flamingo Tongue Snail is between 25 and 35 mm long, so it is almost impossible to notice its presence with the naked eye.

It is elongated in shape and has a small crest. This rare species of snail is identified by a coating that is made on its shell, formed by an extension of its foot. This foot is very important because it helps it to move.

This covering, has intense and brilliant colors what makes it very curious and beautiful, with orange or white tonalities marked by black lines in its superior part.

It is very useful to this rare mollusk as it serves as a defense mechanism, warning predators that it can defend itself from them because it has toxins that it acquires through its food.

If this method does not work and a predator decides to approach or touch it, the coating contracts and completely hides its spots, thus becoming something very different.

In this way, it shows another aspect so as to go unnoticed.

Another very important characteristic of the flamenco tongue snail is that they are very territorial.

Therefore, if two males are found on the same coral they fight for territory.

These territorial fights are usually slow and non-violent. They can be defined as intimidation fighting.

Habitat of this Strange Mollusk

This rare mollusk seeks out shallower reefs to live in, although in some cases they have been found deeper.

The most common area for its habitat is the Caribbean, although it can also be seen in the Atlantic Ocean. Usually in part of the United States, and the coasts of Veracruz in Mexico.

Feeding of the Flamingo Tongue Snail

Now let’s see how and what this rare animal, known as the Flamingo-tongue snail, feeds on.

The coating we talked about in the features not only helps this mollusk to protect itself from predators, but also serves it to find its food.

The Flemingo tongue Snail feeds on the tissues and debris that constantly fall into the habitat where it is found.

It feeds on different kinds of soft corals but specializes in consuming the toxic meat of the soft tissue of the gorgonians (a type of coral also known as “sea fan”).

Its feeding habits have made it immune to this toxic substance. Even though it does not cause him any harm, the same cannot be said of his predators since they will have to face the poison that it carries with it when they want to eat it.

Reproduction of the Flamingo Tongue Snail

The reproduction of this type of rare animals is very fast and it also has to do with the gorgonians, since the adult female deposits her eggs on them.

After a week and a half, the larvae hatch and become attached to the coral, feeding on the surrounding plankton.

Their main Predators and Threats

Predators of this rare mollusk are the puffer fish, the Lachnolaimus maximus fish and the California Red Lobster.

Its beautiful and striking appearance could lead this beautiful and rare animal to extinction, due to the large number of specimens that are captured to live in aquariums, thus removing them from their natural habitat.

Another threat to the Flemish-tongue snail is its own diet, because collecting gorgonians is not usually simple.