Lyncina ventriculus (Lamarck, 1810)
Ventriculus cowry, 45-68mm

Lyncina ventriculus has a very limited habitat. Nearly all specimens observed have been on the windward intertidal reef, out near the outer edge of the reef very near the zone where the waves break on the algal ridge. The only time living specimens can be observed is at very low tide during the calm season, when this area is accessible to reef walking. The animals must have a strong foot to be able to withstand the force of the waves washing over them under most conditions. During the day, the shells tend to be wedged into depressions or holes in the reef, but a few specimens observed at night at Enewetak Atoll indicates that they move around on the reef flat at night. At Kwajalein, no large populations have been found, only a few individuals on the outer reefs of some east reef islands and one that was in a reef quarry on the east side of Gagan Island. In some atolls, however, there must be larger populations, since fairly large numbers of shells show up from the outer islands at the Micronesian Handicraft Shop on Kwajalein. This species range includes many Pacific Islands of Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia.

These are shy animals. It is hard to wait long enough to see the mantle extend from the shell.

Created 1 April 2008
Updated 26 November 2012

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