The Helmet seashells can be Kings or Queens, but surprisingly, the Queen Helmet (photo at Flickr) is larger. It’s scientific name is Cassis madagascariensis, which includes the word “madagascar”, the name given over 100 years ago when it was thought (incorrectly) that the shell was found on the island of Madagascar.
It is not easy to find a Queen Helmet, which is also known as an Emperor Helmet, as the populations are low, but it lives in shallow sandy water and on coral reefs to 30 feet deep. In Florida, it is most often found in the Florida Keys. They eat sea urchins and sand dollars.
The shell can be 12-14 inches long and has a wide opening with markings that resemble teeth. The shell is chunky, lightly colored except for the opening which is a pretty yellow-tan.
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