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Mollusks

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Calf Cowrie (Cypraea vitellus)
Calf Cowrie
(Cypraea vitellus)

The shell of the calf cowrie is not quite as attractive as that of other members of this group. This shell is usually brown and white with spots. Because of the lack of color, the calf cowrie shell does not fetch as high a price on the shell collector market. The muted colors provide this animal with a good means of camouflage.

Common Limpet (Scutus unguis)
Common Limpet
(Scutus unguis)

Limpets are related to snails, and closely resemble them with a few exceptions. Their shell is cone shaped and has a small hole on the tip. Limpets feed on algae and detritus, and then expel waste materials through the hole on top. Because of this, they look like tiny volcanoes as they roam around the rocks.

Common Chiton (Acanthopleura granulata)
Common Chiton
(Acanthopleura granulata)

Chitons are small mollusks that are common in the Caribbean. They are nocturnal and move around the rocks at night feeding on algae. Their strange appearance is reminiscent of the ancient trilobites of prehistoric times. They are commonly introduced into the home aquarium with live rock.

Pacific Octopus (Octopus dofleini)
Pacific Octopus
(Octopus dofleini)

The octopus is probably one of the most well known mollusks. They have lost their hard shell, and have evolved large, complex brains to compensate. The octopus swims by jet propulsion by siphoning water through its body. When threatened, it can release a blinding cloud of black ink. They feed on crustaceans and fish.

Blue Ring Octopus (Hapalochlaena maculosa)
Photo ©  Alex Kerstitch

Blue Ring Octopus
(Hapalochlaena maculosa)

The blue ring octopus is a small species found in the waters of Australia. With its bright blue markings it is a beautiful creature, but it is also quite deadly. Although it is only about eight inches in diameter with its tentacles spread, its bite is poisonous enough to kill a person. The blue ring is the only poisonous octopus species known to exist.

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