Fish Identification: Flamingo Tongue

Fish are fun, but for today's creature identification we're going to talk about a snail (they're not just for escargot).

Physical description

[Flamingo Tongue Snail][]
Flamingo tongues are about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in length. They are easy to identify, because they are all white with small yellowish splotches across their shell. These splotches are lined with black.

Interestingly, this color is not part of their shell, but rather part of the animal's tissue that covers the shell. Divers and snorkelers like to grab flamingo tongues as "souvenirs" because of their pretty shells, only to find after the snail dies that the shell is white and fairly uninteresting.

Geography and habitat

Flamingo tongues live in the tropical waters of the western Atlantic, particularly in the Caribbean.

They can be found at most depths up to 45 ft (14 meters) on soft coral and sea fans. They are gastropods, and so they "eat with their feet" as they travel across the coral, leaving a trail where the soft coral has been eaten off.


Please don't take these guys from their habitat. I hope that by informing people that the shell becomes quite plain after the snail dies it will discourage them from being taken.

Further reading

Reef News, (they have an extreme up-close picture that's much better than mine)
Beautiful Oceans

[Flamingo Tongue Snail]: