Erosaria helvola (Linnaeus, 1758)
Honey cowry or Strawberry, 10-32mm

Erosaria helvola is a common species in the Marshall Islands, where it occupies a wide variety of habitats. The largest numbers of specimens are seen under rocks on the intertidal reef, or in shallow lagoon reef and pinnacle habitats, but they can also be found quite easily on the seaward reef. They also commonly live among Halimeda algae plants on sandy lagoon reefs. Specimens live from 0 to at least 20 meters and probably deeper. The shells vary somewhat across this species' wide Indo-Pacific range and Erosaria helvola has been broken up into a number of geographic subspecies. The specimen below is crawling across some purple sponge on the undersurface of a rock.

The mantle makes the shell hard to see.

The individual below was brooding a freshly deposited egg mass. Each of those cream-colored capsules under the shell contains a number of developing cowry larvae. When ready to hatch, they will drift away and spend the first part of their lives floating as plankton.

Below, a pair, one with the mantle partly extended, crawl across the undersurface of a shallow water rock.

Created 1 April 2008
Updated 14 October 2012

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