cowrie

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Related to cowry: 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 ?
As they were drifting downstream, the fish trap got snagged on the hooked thorns of a rattan vine and a cowry cut the trap's wire, so that they were able to escape.
Yet their instruments, which include large drums and castanets, cowry shells and glass beads, remind one of their African origin, maintained through so many centuries in richly symbolic ritual.
Like gourds, her breasts; hair crosshatched in tight curls bound in a leather band, cowry shells; almond eyes, brows.
Set in the idyllic coral reef community called Shell Land, SHELLDON'S inhabitants include: "Herman" the Hermit crab, "Connie" the Cowry shell, Shelldon's adopted family of Fluted Giant Clams, including his young twin siblings, "Click" and "Clack" and a host of other colorful sea characters including a neurotic crab who owns the town bookstore, a graceful shrimp who runs the beauty salon, a surly turtle who ferries passengers around town and a snail who devises scatter-brained inventions.
Invariably bald, their eyes sometimes encrusted with cowry shells, these modest figures--generally no taller than 70cm--either stand or sit, posed in perpetual anticipation and far from all material concern.
The story was triggered by a series of "signs," she says--including cowry shells that appeared on the sidewalk near her home--inspiring her to bring the supernatural and the everyday into riveting focus.
The middle dancer is wearing a typical traditional dress from the Flathead area, the dress is decorated with cowry shells.
It was decorated with rare or imported materials, such as cowry shells, glass, and porcelain.
But his narrative begins by examining the nature of money itself, how man has learnt to put his trust in tokens, whether cowry shells, pieces of eight or derivative contracts as mediums of mercantile exchange, reaching the situation where today's electronic money means faith is even placed in money that cannot be seen
This study explores the use of money: metal, paper or cowry shells, as payment for services rendered rather than goods purchased.
When pressed, Thomas will name a few of his favorites--a harp shell from Madagascar ($13) and a prince cowry from the Philippines (from $700).