Lambis scorpius (Linnaeus, 1758)
Scorpion shell

Lambis scorpius is common in the Marshalls, but not often seen because it blends in so well in its typical rubbly surroundings. They are most common on lagoon pinnacles and on the seaward reef, but can also occasionally be found on lagoon interisland reefs as well. It does not range up into the intertidal, however. We've seen hybrids between this and the much rarer Lambis crocata. The specific name is derived from the anterior finger (on the right side of the shell below), whose curve reminds one of a scorpion's tail.

The brilliantly-colored aperture starkly contrasts with the usually drab and encrusted dorsum. However, young specimens that lack the dorsal growth can be quite colorful.

The dorsal coloration can be seen beneath the developing encrustations on these two young shells below.

Fingers are made last as the animal grows, starting out hollow and gradually filling in.

Created 1 October 2009
Updated 12 February 2016

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