Erosaria labrolineata (Gaskoin, 1849)
Labrolineata cowry, 12-22mm

Erosaria labrolineata is found in a variety of atoll habitats extending from intertidal reefs to lagoon interisland and pinnacle reefs to leeward and windward seaward reefs extending down at least to 40m in depth. Despite the range of habitats, it seems to be common in none of them. Most often, old empty shells are found in the bottoms of seaward reef surge channels or in rubble pockets on the slopes. Most living specimens inhabit the undersurfaces of rocks, but they can occasionally be found in ledges and caves or among Halimeda algae plants on sandy lagoon reefs. During the summer of 2009, many living specimens were observed under dead coral rocks on a 3 to 6m depth lagoon reef between Bigej and Meck Islands in Kwajalein Atoll. By the next year, the species had once again become uncommon in those same areas. Shells resemble the much rarer Erosaria cernica, but are narrower and are gray or brownish gray in color instead of orange-yellow. This species is distributed throughout the Pacific from Polynesia to Indonesia and Western Australia, with another population in the northwestern Indian Ocean.

Shell background color can vary from brown to dark gray.

When the mantle with its long branching papillae is extended, the animal hard to see on a typical background.

Here is a specimen on eggs.

This one is hard to pick out in its algae habitat.

Created 1 April 2008
Updated 8 October 2016

Back to cowry thumbnails

Kwajalein Underwater Home