The Atlantic Deer Cowrie, Cypraea cervus, and the Measled Cowrie, Cypraea zebra, are two fairly common, almost indistinguishable. The Atlantic Deer Cowrie, Cypraea cervus, and the Measled Cowrie, Cypraea zebra, are two fairly common, almost indistinguishable cowries from Florida and the Caribbean. Both have bands when they are small and
spots when they are bigger. Pictured is the Deer cowrie, and that’s what we will usually send, but the Measled cowrie
will be almost indistinguishable and sometimes that’s what we’ll send.
Both cowries will grow to about 3 or 4 inches in the wild, but our target size is about 2 ½ inches. They eat algae and sponges in an aquarium, so if you have sponges in your tank, be aware that they might try eating them. They can also release a thick, slimy mucus if disturbed, but that is only likely to be a problem when you try to take it out of the bag and put in into your tank. Once in your system, it is very unlikely that they will eject that mucus, unless something like an
octopus attacks it.
Cowries have beautiful shells that are kept shiny by the mantle of the animal, which covers the shell most of the time. The mantle is not dangerous to touch, and neither is the animal itself, and it’s normal for the mantle to be half way or fully covering the shell. Cowries don’t bother other invertebrates other than possibly some sponges. Cowries are not reef safe, we have seen them eating zoanthids.