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 ?
Meyer CP (2003) Molecular systematics of cowries Gastropoda: Cypraeidae and diversification patterns in the tropics.
Maggi Wynne states that the cowries or shells used for decorations for the sunset and composer evocative example linking Kalasha women to ocean and people they have never seen.
The first one outlines the mechanisms which underpin the economic rationale of the Me and the influence of the introduction of cowries (pp.
As long ago as 1987, a White-toothed Cowrie was sold at auction for $27,000 and the slightly less rare but iconic Glory of the Seas has gone for similar prices.
Gold dust and cowries are not 'issued' in the same sense as coins or banknotes.
He discusses the silent trade and various mediums of exchange, including cloth, cowries, coins, and letters of exchange.
The women wearing their traditional black robes, ornate cowries shelled head dresses and adorned with colored necklaces, dance in a circle.
Though it is no longer the world's source of cowries, it has completed a transition to democracy, it has emerged as one of the most prominent voices on climate change and has been named as one of the seven most important countries on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR).
He wears a topi (cap) and carries the colourful ritual dress of the sirha, a long skirt and a blouse decorated with cowries, in a small box.
The associations of cowries with the history of the slave trade (the Europeans used cowrie shells from the Indian Ocean to buy slaves) has resonance for these objects as well, because it was in part as protection against the dangers of slaving wars that these bocio once had a central role.
Long ago, Somalis prized these small cowries and carried them as currency.
Among benthic marine species, cowries (Gastropoda; Cypraeidae) are particularly suitable for the study of adult body size because they exhibit explicit determinate growth, which makes it easy to quantify body size at the onset of the adult stage.