cowrie


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Related to cowrie: money cowrie

cowrie

or

cowry

(both: kou`rē), common name applied to marine gastropods belonging to the family Cypraeidae, a well-developed family of marine snails found in the tropics. Cowries are abundant in the Indian Ocean, particularly in the East Indies and the Maldive Islands. Species of cowries inhabit the waters around S California and the warm waters southward from the SE United States. They characteristically have massive, smooth, shiny shells with striking patterns and colors. The upper surface is round and the lower flat. When alive, the cowrie's shell is usually concealed by its large mantle; as the cowrie creeps along the ocean bottom, the mantle envelops the shell. As the body grows, the inner whorls of the shell are dissolved, and the dissolved lime is then used to enlarge the outer whorl of the shell. Some shells have been used for money, e.g., those of the money cowrie, Cypraea moneta. The shells of various species are used also for personal adornment and in some primitive cultures indicate the rank of the wearer. The smooth brown cowrie, Cypraea spadicea, inhabits the protected outer coast and mud flats in S California, often as far north as Newport, Calif. The most prized cowrie for a shell collector is the tiger cowrie, Cypraea tigris, which grows to 4 in. (10 cm) in length and whose shell is considered by some to be the most lustrous shell of the South Pacific. Having the appearance of a tiger skin, it is white with many brown spots. Cowries are classified in the phylum MolluscaMollusca
, taxonomic name for the one of the largest phyla of invertebrate animals (Arthropoda is the largest) comprising more than 50,000 living mollusk species and about 35,000 fossil species dating back to the Cambrian period.
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, class Gastropoda, order Mesogastropoda, family Cypraeidae.

cowrie

, cowry
1. any marine gastropod mollusc of the mostly tropical family Cypraeidae, having a glossy brightly marked shell with an elongated opening
2. the shell of any of these molluscs, esp the shell of Cypraea moneta (money cowry), used as money in parts of Africa and S Asia
References in periodicals archive ?
Unlike the earlier tixingpai sets from Ml 13, Tianma-Qucun M6214 and Hengshui Ml, the trapezoidal plaques from M92 are made from nephrite rather than ivory or bone and the set was not directly associated with cowries.
He showed us a big glass case with Buffalo Bill's white horse with saddle and harness - yes, decorated with cowrie shells.
Long ago, Somalis prized these small cowries and carried them as currency.
As he prayed for them, Ned sprinkled them with grass dipped in milk, a symbol of life, from a gourd decorated with cowrie shells.
By contrast we were welcomed at L'Auberge where, in a wood-panelled room profusely decorated with masks and cowrie shells, we too fed on fish: capitaine (Niger perch)--and chips.
As in past such crises, one might expect a shift from currencies into gold, land, jewelry, cowrie shells, and other such assets.
Democratic Republic of Congo, Vili-Kongo, Male Figure (Nkisi Nkondi), early/mid-19th century, Wood, metal, glass, fabric, fibers, cowrie shells, bones, leather, gourds, and feathers, 28 1/3" (72 cm).
On the same collecting trip, Ritson-Williams picked up a type of shelled sea creature called a cowrie and put it in the same container with the flatworm.
Five years ago, while collecting flatworms in Guam, he picked up a cowrie to give to a friend who was doing a research project on that speckled-shell mollusk.
But as they bowed their heads, Jordan noticed that each had a row of two or three cowrie shells that had been made into earrings, which hung discreetly from their pierced earlobes.
They are smiling now, but, like Gunner Jim Cowrie, they may not return.
The young Masai bride is shaven, but wore cowrie shells and beads to adorn her.