Flamingo Tongue

This little guy is a Flamingo Tongue. The coloring on it is not the shell but a protective mantle that is deployed when they are awake, the shell itself is white. They feed on coral which is where they are usually seen.

Taking pictures of these guys can be challenging since they are usually seen on soft corals which sway with the surge/current so they are usually moving back and forth. I have lots of out of focus pictures of them, and relatively few in-focus pictures.

The mantle is really quite beautiful and I probably serves as a warning to potential predators, but that is just my own theory.

I have another picture of one here.


2 Responses to Flamingo Tongue

  1. friscuba says:

    They are such an attractive shell. We don’t see those in Kona. Cool picture.


  2. Thanks for the compliment.

    Actually it is not a shell but a soft mantle that is part of the creature itself. If you look closely at the other picture I linked to, you can see that the foot of the creature has the same pattern. I have not seen any without the mantle retracted (my understanding is that the shell is plain white) so I expect that they hide away somewhere to rest/sleep. They are pretty good at ‘cleaning’ coral though, in the picture above you can see the lack of polyps on the stalks, those have all been eaten.

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