THE FLORIDA HORSE CONCH
Although known as a horse conch, this is not a true conch, as it is not in the family Strombidae.
This species is the largest gastropod in the American waters, and one of the largest univalves in the world.
The animal can retract the soft parts entirely into the shell and close it with the operculum. The soft parts are bright orange in color.
This species shell length can reach 24 inches
The outline of the shell is somewhat fusiform, with a long siphonal canal, and having up to 10 whorls. Its sculpture present several spiral cords and axial ribs, some of which can form knobs on the whorls shoulders.
The shell color is bright orange in very young individuals. The shell often becomes greyish white to salmon-orange when adult, with a light tan or dark brown periostracum.
This species dwells on sand, weed and mud flats from the low intertidal to shallow subtidal zones, in 20 foot (6 m) deep water.
The horse conch is a carnivorous predatory species, and feeds on other large marine gastropods, including the tulip shell , the lightning whelk , and the queen conch, as well as some Murex species. It may also present cannibalistic behavior, feeding on smaller individuals. It has been observed (in an aquarium setting) to eat small hermit crabs of the species.