Cypraea isabella

cypraea-isabellaQueen Isabella's cowrie

This nearly cylindrical shell grows to about 4 cm. It is distributed across the entire tropical IndoPacific and is commonly found under boulders on the reef’s crest. This cowrie is believed to be herbivorous.

Linneus, who named this cowrie, had a somewhat malicious intent when he gave the cowrie the harmless sounding name of Queen Isabella’s cowrie. There is a story that Queen Isabella of Spain had announced before a big naval battle that she would not change her underwear until the Spaniards had won. Unfortunately for her, they were soundly defeated. If the pattern of this cowrie is carefully examined, there are markings on the dorsum, or backside, of the shell that look like soiled underwear. This shell has been illustrated in the stamps of certain countries.

Classification

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumMollusca
ClassGastropoda
OrderCaenogastropoda
FamilyCypraeidae
GenusCypraea
SpeciesCypraea isabella

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