Select the search type
  • Site
  • Web
You are here:   animal list > Cypraea annulus




Cypraea annulus Linnaeus, 1758

Gold Ring Cowry

Lauren Hughes (2011)


Fact Sheet


Brief Summary

Physical Description

Shape & Size

Identification Resources


Local Distribution & Habitats

Biogeographical Distribution

Crypsis & Defense

Life History & Behaviour

Growth & Development



Sensory Systems & Behaviour


Evolution & Systematics

Systematics / Phylogenetics

Morphology and Physiology

External Morphology

Internal Anatomy


Trends & Threats


References & More Information


Biodiversity Heritage Library

Search the Web

Names & Taxonomy

Synonyms & Names

Crypsis & Defense

Cowries usually remain hidden during the day. The can be found tucked away in holes, crevices, rubble, or under rocks and corals. Cowries are nocturnal and emerge to feed with their fleshy mantle fully extended to cover their shell.

Images of the gold ring cowry with the mantle partly and fully extended.

The gold ring cowry, like many other cowries, has a mantle that is a totally different colour and pattern than their shell. The colour of the mantle sometimes matches the sponge it feeds upon. For this species, the mantle flaps are mottled browns and creams and covered with branching papillae. The cryptic colours and textures of the mantle are used for camouflage.

Adult cowries often have very different colouration and pattern compared to juveniles. The colourful gloss of the shell is maintained by the two mantle lobes which continually deposit enamel when they are extended. This enamel secretion is a calcium carbonate and protein mix which continually builds and repairs the shell from the top downwards and protects the shell from abrasion. It may also be used as a defense mechanism. The hard shell and small, slit like aperture make the cowry a difficult animal to prey on. If startled or touched, cowries undergo a sudden colour change, from mottled mantle to vivid cream and gold, by withdrawing their mantle completely inside the shell. This response is considered an anti-predator response, as they attempt to confuse predators.