Cowry (luria lurida)
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Common name Cowry
Scientific name Luria lurida
Class Gasteropodae
Order Mesogasteropodae
Family Cypraeidae
Distribution The Mediterranean.
Habitat rocky and sandy substrates from a few metres beneath the surface to depths of 30 - 40 m, in caves and in coralligenous areas.
Dimensions Can grow to a length of 3-5 cm
Characteristicts The shell is shiny and has two dark marks at one end.

The shell of the cowry is quite resilient, cylindrical-pyriform and very convex on top. The base is slightly convex and the opening long and narrow. The extremities are compressed and protracted. Mediterranean cowries are a very uniformed tawny grey colour tending towards a greenish or reddish hue. Three dark streaks, alternating with lighter narrower streaks may be more or less visible crosswise. The base is lighter in colour, the teeth are white and there are two very dark marks, almost fused together, at one end of the shell.

This species is mainly nocturnal and spends the day hiding in crevices, under stones or in caves. Cowries are carnivorous and feed on living Verongia aerophoba sponges, tunicates, anthozoas and small crustaceans. Cowries lay their eggs in a gelatinous mass that attaches itself to the rocks and just fits under the shell and its mantle. Both the female and the male guard the eggs until they hatch.