Florida Fighting Conch (Strombus alatus Gmelin, 1791)

Florida Fighting Conch
Strombus alatus Gmelin, 1791

Florida Fighting Conch:
Put Up Your Dukes

By Patricia B. Mitchell.

The Florida Fighting Conch is a rather formidable-looking snail with a very handsome golden caramel-colored shell. The shell is touched with white, and sometimes has additional orange and purple markings. It is sturdy and 3-4 inches tall. About seven whorls and a pointed spire form the body of the shell. There is a long aperture with a “stromboid” notch at the base, and, on the mature snail, a thick, flaring lip. To “close the door” to its shell, the snail pulls itself inside with the claw-like operculum coming last. The inside of the shell is likely to be dark brown. There may be blunt spines on the shoulders of the shell.

In 1931 Julia Ellen Rogers wrote about conchs in Florida:

It is an exciting experience to watch these conchs on a Florida beach contriving to get back to the water after being stranded by the tide. One rarely sees in Florida such an illustration of strenuousness. The extended hook is struck into the wet sand, and over the shell rolls; the second stroke flings it in another direction. You can see the radula working rapidly as the proboscis is lifted. Obstacles are avoided, corners are turned, wherever possible the conch makes a leap, and at last plunks joyfully into the water. Not seldom does a handsome specimen escape the amazed collector by jumping out of the boat.

This active gastropod lives in shallow water from North Carolina to Texas and northeast Mexico.


This website is sponsored by Mitchells Publications.