Melongena corona Gmelin, 1791
The photograph at right shows the smooth form of the Crown Conch, a univalve which is 2-5 inches tall. The shell is dark brown or almost black, with rather random bluish-white or yellow spiral bands of color. The smooth form of the shell has small spines on the upper whorls; the non-smooth form has longer, larger spines on the upper part of the shell, and some additional sharp spines in the area of the flaring aperture. The overall shape of the shell is pear-like. The Crown Conch may close its claw-like operculum at will.
Percy A. Morris noted in his Field Guide to the Shells of Our Atlantic and Gulf Coasts that the cunning Crowned Conch, a predatory carnivore, has been observed “circling around the back of a resting scallop in order to sneak up from the rear.” The Crowned Conch then pounces upon the unsuspecting scallop and enjoys a nice lunch.
Both forms of this shallow water dweller wash ashore on beaches from Florida to Mexico.