Strombus is a genus of medium to large sea snails, marinegastropodmolluscs in the familyStrombidae, which comprises the true conchs and their immediate relatives. The genus Strombus was named by Swedish Naturalist Carl Linnaeus in 1758. Around 50 living species were recognized, which vary in size from fairly small to very large. Six species live in the greater Caribbean region, including the queen conch, Strombus gigas (now usually known as Eustrombus gigas or Lobatus gigas), and the West Indian fighting conch, Strombus pugilis. However, since 2006, many species have been assigned to discrete genera. These new genera are, however, not yet found in most textbooks and collector's guides.
Worldwide, several of the larger species are economically important as food sources; these include the endangered queen conch, which very rarely also produces a pink, gem-quality pearl.
In the geological past, a much larger number of species of Strombus existed. Fossils of species within this genus have been found all over the world in sediments from Cretaceous to Quaternary (age range: 140.2 million years ago to recent).
Live animal of the Florida fighting conch Strombus alatus: Note the extensible snout in the foreground, and the two stalked eyes behind it.
Like almost all shelled gastropods, conches have spirally constructed shells. Again, as is normally the case in many gastropods, this spiral shell growth is usually right-handed, but on very rare occasions it can be left-handed.
True conches have long eye stalks, with colorful ring-marked eyes at the tips. The shell has a long and narrow aperture, and a short siphonal canal, with another indentation near the anterior end called a stromboid notch. This notch is where one of the two eye stalks protrudes from the shell.
The true conch has a foot ending in a pointed, sickle-shaped, operculum, which can be dug into the substrate as part of an unusual "leaping" locomotion.
True conches grow a flared lip on their shells only upon reaching sexual maturity. This is called an alated outer lip or alation.
Conches lay eggs in long strands; the eggs are contained in twisted, gelatinous tubes.Strombus moves with a leaping motion.
Strombus shells have a flaring outer lip with a notch near the anterior end called the stromboid notch through which the animal can protrude one of its stalked eyes.
In a different approach, Latiolais and colleagues (2006) proposed another cladogram that attempts to show the phylogenetic relationships of 34 species within the family Strombidae. The authors analysed 31 species in the genus Strombus and three species in the allied genus Lambis. The cladogram was based on DNA sequences of both nuclear histone H3 and mitochondrial cytochrome-c oxidase I (COI) protein-coding gene regions. In this proposed phylogeny, Strombus pugilis, Strombus alatus, Strombus granulatus and Strombus gracilior are closely related and appear to share a common ancestor.
This genus of sea snails used to comprise about 50 species, 38 of them occurring in the Indo-Pacific region. Species within the genus Strombus include:
^ abcLatiolais, J. M.; Taylor M. S.; Roy, K.; Hellberg, M. E. (2006). "A molecular phylogenetic analysis of strombid gastropod morphological diversity". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution41: 436-444. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.05.027.PDF.
^Kenneth R. Wye, The Encyclopedia of Shells, Londo, 2004, p. 70.
^ abcSimone, L. R. L. (2005). "Comparative morphological study of representatives of the three families of Stromboidea and the Xenophoroidea (Mollusca, Caenogastropoda), with an assessment of their phylogeny" (PDF). Arquivos de Zoologia. São Paulo, Brazil: Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo. 37 (2): 141–267. ISSN 0066-7870. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-05.
^Cob, Z. C. et al. (2009). "Species Description and Distribution of Strombus (Mollusca: Strombidae) in Johor Straits and its Surrounding Areas". Sains Malaysiana38 (1): 39–46.
^Abbott, R.T. (1960). "The genus Strombus in the Indo-pacific". Indo-Pacific Mollusca 1(2): 33-144