Melongena corona var. sprucecreekensis
Spruce creek form
Florida crown conch
Spruce creek crown conch
Synonym(s): Melongena sprucecreekensis
Endemic to Florida
Florida crown conchs are mollusks that live in the intertidal zone along much of Florida's and nearby state's coasts. They are carnivorous, feeding mainly on clams, mussels and oysters.
Size and other characteristics vary greatly in the various populations, leading many experts to classify them as separate subspecies or even distinct species. However, genetic testing conducted as part of a master's thesis by Kenneth A Hayes at the University of South Florida in 2003 concluded that all of the Melongena corona in Florida are a single polymorphic species.
These sea snails have one or more rows of spines, typically around the crown with a second basal row low on the shell. In Florida Bay and the keys is a smaller nearly spineless variety. Sizes can range from 5cm (2 in.) to 20 cm (8 in.) long. The larger sizes, such as in the Spruce Creek estuary, tend to be associated with a diet of oysters.
The Florida crown conch pictured here was from the side passages between spoil islands of the Halifax River near Rose Bay. This conch was almost the size of my hand, about 15 cm (6 in.) long.
Melongena corona is a member of the Melongenidae - Crown Conchs, Whelks and relatives family.
For more information on this species, visit the following link:
Jacksonville Shell Club website page for Florida crown conchs
Date record last modified: Mar 11, 2012