cowrie

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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 ?
The principal differences seen were the inclusion of perforated cowrie shells or imitations in stone in the sets (also seen in later burials at Liulihe [95F15M2]), and the more prominent use of a widening range of stones, including serpentine, calcite, fluorite and possibly gypsum.
3) The decoration with cowries is a sign of the wealth given to the goddess, corresponding to the anga (wooden frame used as a deity's vehicle) of Narsinghnath and the sirha chairs, which are decorated with old silver coins.
Whitman would fill his pockets with the rattle of cowries and walk the desert as a nomad searching for water.
32) The others are Lady Mother-in-Law, the mother of Binetou and two female storytellers: one appearing at Modou Fall's funeral and the female storyteller reading the cowries to Ramatoulaye.
This was on account of my not giving them Cowries enough so that I was at last obliged to give them their full prise else I might have Layn here God knows how long.
In the eighteenth century alone, more than twenty-five million pounds of cowries were imported into West Africa.
The illustration presents classic conch shells side by side with sand dollars, cowries and queen conch shells to instill a beautiful beach scene to any living room or bedroom decor.
Most are tiny but they include varieties such as cowries that you might not expect to find in European waters.
Authors Walter and Jean Deas, both award-winning underwater photographers and natural history documentary producers, take the reader into the tranquil world of living coral colonies, brilliantly coloured fishes, sponges, algae, cowries and giant clams--a combination of marine life that gives the coral reefs their mystique.
Cowries, which come front the Indian Ocean, were at one time used as money in many parts of Africa.
Apart from barter and cowries, a common currency system, based on the mithkal, was also widely used.
One of the most satisfying aspects of the job,' commented Tim Jones, one of the Rangers involved in the project, 'is the pleasure the kids get from filling their buckets with cowries, razors and barnacles in preference to shells