Final: Queen Conch

This discussion topic submitted by Mark Pedelty at 10:29 pm on 8/2/99. Additions were last made on Wednesday, May 7, 2014.

Queen Conchs are rare in the lagoon grassbeds on San Salvador, Bahamas

Here is the Outline from the Powerpoint Slides. The Bibliography follows. View the Queen Conch Powerpoint Presentation here.

Cultural Ecology of the Queen Conch
Strombus gigas
(Class Gastropoda)
Other Conch Species
Florida Crown
Florida Fighting
Florida Horse
West Indian Crown
West Indian Fighting
Shared with other gastropods (stomach-footed)
Reaches 30 cm in length
Mature conch has flared lip
Shell spines help reduce predation
Larger shell
Distributes crushing pressure over surface of shell
Attachment device for epibionts to conceal shell
Mr. Slimy
Want to Know How the Shell Develops?
Talk to Kira
Habitat and Feeding Habits
Seagrass beds
Eats grasses, epiphytes and detritus
Have you seen a conch on our dives?
How big?
Juveniles bury selves to escape predation, until Ú 5 cm (Iverson et. al. 1989)
Prime juvenile habitat:
Intermediate density of seagrass (30-80 g dry wt/m2 )
2-4 meters
Strong tidal currents
Most seagrass beds cannot support juveniles
Reproduction and Life Cycle
Internal fertilization
Metamorphosis from larvae triggered by low molecular weight compounds associated with red algae (Boettcher & Target 1997)
Variations in shell development appear to be influenced more by local environment than genetic variability (Martin-Mora & James 1995)
Approximately 230 published papers by 1997
Publication driven mainly by maricultural concerns
Formal descriptions of larval stage of several Strombus species first appeared in 1993
Over-ÓharvestedÓ for÷
Shell used for jewelry and decoration
Productive areas become žsinksÓ
Only 5,000-9,000 in Florida
Fishing restrictions
Fishing moratorium in Florida since 1985 (little to no recovery, relies on unpredictable current?)
Bahamas restricted to free diving (unfortunately, juveniles and young adults are in the shallows)
Hatcheries producing millions of juveniles, but survival rate very poor compared to wild (Xanthid crabs a major predator of juveniles)
Thinner shells, shorter spines, low burial frequency
Substrate enclosure? (Iverson et. al. 1989)
May need higher density for males and females to detect one another (internal fertilization)
Must begin to take a metapopulation perspective (Stoner 1997:21)
An Hypothesis Based on Info from Jyl
Given that a colony of Conch will vacate an area once removed from that colony (Lapachin 1999), and÷
That under žnaturalÓ conditions there is much less predation of the adult vs. juvenile conch, then÷
Perhaps human predation has the double effect of not only removing a single conch, but also reducing survival of others due to energy-loss (= bears in the wild)
The Conch in Mesoamerica
Archaeological and Ethnohistoric Evidence
Early Images
Teotihuacan 0-700 AD
Central Valley of Mexico
An empireŪs symbol of control over distant ecological zones
Coyote Playing Conch
Warring City States following the collapse of Teotihuacan
Associated with the rain deity (Tlaloc?)
Symbol of wealth
Acquired by trade rather than conquest

Geometric Elaboration
The Mexica
Ceremonial uses
cardinal directions
maintain seasonal balance, duality (Tlaloc/Huitzilopochtli)
Trade and tribute
Protein sources highly prized

Conch Sculpture at the Templo Mayor
Is there anything to learn from Mesoamerican civilizations?
Not just balance in modern sense, but integration of humans & the rest of the žnaturalÓ world
Vs. the natural/cultural approach, managed/wild
Sanctions for violating life (human sacrifice), enculturation processes which produce a sense of awe and symbiotic pleasure (Nahua)
No se puede comer La Patria


1.Variation in natural mortality: implications for queen conch stock enhancement. Stoner, Allan W. Bulletin of Marine Science v. 62 no2 (Mar. '98) p.
2.Settlement and recruitment of queen conch, Strombus gigas, in seagrass meadows: associations with habitat and micropredators. Stoner, Allan W. Fishery
Bulletin v. 96 no4 (Oct. '98) p. 885-99
3.Overview of diets used in larviculture of three Caribbean conchs: queen conch Strombus gigas, milk conch Strombus costatus and fighting conch Strombus
pugilis. Aldana-Aranda,
Dalila. Aquaculture v. 167 no3-4 (Sept. 1 '98) p. 163-78
4.Effects of photoperiod on development, growth and survival of larvae of the fighting conch
Strombus pugilis in the laboratory. Manzano, Nancy Brito. Aquaculture v. 167 no1-2 (Aug. 1
'98) p. 27-34
5.Role of chemical inducers in larval metamorphosis of queen conch, Strobmus gigas
Linnaeus: relationship to other marine invertebrate systems. Boettcher, Anne A. The
Biological Bulletin v. 194 no2 (Apr. '98) p. 132-42
6.The status of queen conch, Strombus gigas, research in the Caribbean. Stoner, Allan W.
Marine Fisheries Review v. 59 no3 ('97) p. 14-22
7.Nutritional potentialities of Chlamydomonas coccoides and Thalassiosira fluviatilis, as
measured by their ingestion and digestion rates by the Queen conch larvae (Strombus
gigas). Aldana-Aranda, Dalila. Aquaculture v. 156 (Oct. 14 '97) p. 9-20
8.Mariculture and enhancement of wild populations of queen conch (Strombus gigas) in the
western Atlantic. Iversen, Edwin S. Bulletin of Marine Science v. 60 (May '97) p. 929-41
9.Hydrogen peroxide induced metamorphosis of queen conch, Strombus gigas: tests at the
commercial scale. Boettcher, Anne A. Aquaculture v. 148 (Jan. 15 '97) p. 247-58
10.Queen conch, Strombus gigas, in fished and unfished locations of the Bahamas: effects of a
marine fishery reserve on adults, juveniles, and larval production. Stoner, Allan W.
Fishery Bulletin v. 94 (July '96) p. 551-65
11.Interaction of physical and biological factors in the large-scale distribution of juvenile
queen conch in seagrass meadows. Stoner, A. W. Bulletin of Marine Science v. 58 (Jan. '96)
p. 217-33
12.Developmental plasticity in the shell of the queen conch Strombus gigas. Martn-Mora,
Elizabeth. Ecology v. 76 (Apr. '95) p. 981-94
13.Effect of algal food and feeding schedule on larval growth and survival rates of the queen
conch, Strombus gigas (Mollusca, Gastropoda), in Mexico. Garca Santaella, Eduardo.
Aquaculture v. 128 (Dec. 15 '94) p. 261-8
14.Size-specific predation of juvenile queen conch Strombus gigas: implications for stock
enhancement. Ray, Melody. Aquaculture v. 128 (Dec. 1 '94) p. 79-88
15.Experimental outplanting of juvenile queen conch, Strombus gigas: comparison of wild and
hatchery-reared stocks. Stoner, Allan W. Fishery Bulletin v. 92 (Apr. '94) p. 390-411
16.Structure and optics of the eye of the hawk-wing conch, Strombus raninus (L.). Seyer,
Jan-Olof. The Journal of Experimental Zoology v. 268 (Mar. 1 '94) p. 200-7
17.Queen conch, Strombus gigas, reproductive stocks in the central Bahamas: distribution and
probable sources. Stoner, Allan W. Fishery Bulletin v. 92 (Jan. '94) p. 171-9
18.Aggregation dynamics in juvenile queen conch (Strombus gigas): population structure,
mortality, growth, and migration. Stoner, A. W. Marine Biology v. 116 no4 ('93) p. 571-82
19.Ontogenetic shift in habitat by early juvenile queen conch, Strombus gigas: patterns and
potential mechanisms. Sandt, Veronique J. Fishery Bulletin v. 91 (July '93) p. 516-25
20.Monitoring marine resources: ecological and policy implications affecting the scientific
collecting and commercial value of New England conch (Busycon). Kaplan, Ilene M. The
Biological Bulletin v. 183 (Oct. '92) p. 379-80
21.Genetic patchiness among populations of queen conch Strombus gigas in the Florida Keys
and Bimini. Campton, Donald E. Fishery Bulletin v. 90 (Apr. '92) p. 250-9
22.Experimental analysis of habitat quality for juvenile queen conch in seagrass meadows.
Stoner, Allan W. Fishery Bulletin v. 89 (Oct. '91) p. 693-700
23.Seasonality in reproductive activity and larval abundance of queen conch Strombus gigas.
Stoner, Allan W. Fishery Bulletin v. 90 (Jan. '92) p. 161-70
24.Distribution and behavior of queen conch Strombus gigas relative to seagrass standing
crop. Stoner, Allan W. Fishery Bulletin v. 88 no3 ('90) p. 573-85
25.Evidence of survival value related to burying behavior in queen conch Strombus gigas.
Iversen, Edwin S. Fishery Bulletin v. 88 no2 ('90) p. 383-7
26.Population structure, larval dispersal, and gene flow in the queen conch, Strombus gigas, of
the Caribbean. Mitton, Jeffry B. The Biological Bulletin v. 177 (Dec. '89) p. 356-62
27.Queen among molluscs: the hop, hop, hopping conch. Iversen, Edwin S. Oceans v. 17
(Jan./Feb. '84) p. 30-3

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