Conus leopardus (Röding, 1798)
Leopard cone, 187mm

Conus leopardus is common in sandy lagoon areas, although it can occasionally also be found in sand patches on seaward reefs. It is the largest cone shell, reaching at least 187mm here in the Marshalls. It is commonly seen at depths of 3 to 15m, but can range deeper as well. Despite its large size, it has very small radular teeth, and is a worm eater. The shell is white with many rows of small black spots, but the thick brown periostracum usually hides most of the pattern.

Most often by day they are partly buried in the sand.

Below is a young specimen with thinner periostracum.

Feeding on an acorn worm.

Conus leopardus often attaches its large white egg capsules to clumps of Halimeda algae on lagoon sand flats.

The one below was tucked under an Actinodendron fire anemone and pushing out egg capsules.

Created 4 July 2009
Updated 24 October 2013

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