Belize Barrier Reef’s Conch!!

By: fptravels

Apr 08 2010

Category: Travel

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The Conch

The  conch is a mollusk, which has hard structured shell with crown looking spires and spikes on a spiral coiled shell.  The outer shell is orange and yellow with a fascinating rosy pink flaring lip. The shell is produced by a thin layer of tissue between the snail’s body and the shell. Calcium carbonate is extracted from the sea by the snail as the source of calcium for creating the shell.  The queen conch generally grows 6-9 inches with some growing up to 12 inches.  They have two pairs of tentacles on the head that provide touch, smell and light sensitivity.  The  conch buries itself in the sand for short dormancy periods.  These snails move around on the sea floor using a muscular foot that is covered in cilia and mucous.  The adults are most active at night. Conch is listed as an endangered species by most organizations in Belize because they are over harvested for food and their beautiful  shells.

Conch can be found on around the barrier reef, patch reef, reef crest, and back reef.  The first year of its life, the conch lives in a shallow habitat buried in sediment. As they age they move to deeper waters.

Conch  feeds primarily on algae, grasses and organic debris; However, in the larvae stage, they feed on plankton.  Eating is done through a tongue resembling organ that contains thousands of tiny teeth like particles. Conchs have a very complicated digestive system, expelling wastes from the gut located near the gills.
Sexual maturity in  conchs is reached at about 3-4 years of age.  Their eggs are laid in gelatinous strings 50-75 feet in length that contain as many as 185,000 to 460,000 eggs.  The peak period of reproduction in  conchs is from April to August.  More about Belize, Watch videos about Belize, Book a vacation Package or day tour in Belize.

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