Tiger Cowrie Purple top cowries. It feeds on polyps on coral reefs. It is most commonly found under the coral rocks in the Indo-Pacific region and also around the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. The exterior of the shell is smooth and polished because of the covering that the animal has, called a mantle, that wraps around the entire shell. Some cultures see cowry shells as a symbol of fertility and are often offered to a bride as a gift to ensure fertility.
The outer shell is brown and black spotted, similar to a tiger, but the purple resides in a lower layer. To reach the purple of the shell, they are dipped into an acidic formula. Tiger cowries are also used in carvings like cameos due to this uniform color under the patterned shell.
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