Canarium haemastoma (Sowerby, 1842)

Canarium haemastoma are mostly relatively rare in the Marshalls, but when found usually occur in groups. They can be found buried in the top layer of coarse sand or fine rubble in seaward reef sand patches from about 8 to 25m depth, or they can be found in lagoon Halimeda beds or even crawling on the surface of the sand in 6 to 13m. Occasional specimens have been observed in sand patches on large flat-topped lagoon pinnacles. While the Latin name technically means blood mouth, there is another, better known stromb commonly called the blood-mouth conch, so we will leave this one without a common name. Besides, the animal must have been named from a faded specimen since the aperture coloration is more purplish black than red in living animals, and only fades to red or orange long after the animal has died. So the name is kind of a misnomer. This is a smaller species, ranging up to about 30mm in length.

The purplish black color on the inner lip of the aperture (the columella) is what fades to red long after the death of the animal.

Created 1 October 2009
Updated 15 December 2011

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