A live queen conch snail is barely visible in the opening of its shell. courtesy of the US Federal Government, via Wikimedia Commons
Queen conch (pronounced “conk”) snails live underwater in the ocean. Like most other snails, queen conchs grow hard shells that they use for protection from other animals that want to eat them. A fully grown queen conch may have a shell that is one foot long. The snail and its shell can weigh as much as four pounds!
A queen conch keeps most of its body inside of its shell, but it needs to come out of the shell to look for algae and other plants that it eats. The conch has a snout with a mouth that it sticks out of its shell and uses to scrape plants off the bottom of the ocean floor. The queen conch can also extend two eyestalks, which are long tentacles with eyes on the ends of them. Queen conch snails use their eyes to watch what is going on around them while they are eating.
Queen conch snails are edible, which means they are safe for humans to eat. In some places where queen conchs live, people have overharvested the snails. When humans overharvest a species, they take so many animals of the species that the remaining animals have a hard time reproducing enough young animals to survive. Overharvesting can sometimes lead to extinction. Fortunately, the queen conch snail is not extinct. The map below shows areas in North America where queen conch snails live.
The shaded areas on this map are areas where queen conch snails live. The map shows parts of North and South America. By Office of Protected Resources of U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service
This conch has its eyestalks extended from its shell. The conch’s shell is covered with algae and underwater plants. By divemasterking2000
The above links plus:
Andrew, Campbell C. Seashore Life. New York: Exeter Books, 1983. Pp. 36-42.
Kaplan, Eugene H. A Field Guide to Southeastern and Caribbean Seashores. Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston, 1988. Pp. 224-239.