The Banded Tulip
The Banded Tulip, Cinctura hunteria (G. Perry, 1811), is one of the largest and most attractive marine snails found along the barrier islands of Southwest Florida. The species, which may reach in excess of 4 inches in size, is also present in other parts of the Gulf of Mexico, eastern Florida, and northern Caribbean Sea. The smooth, tulip-shaped shell is characterized by the widely spaced, brownish spiral lines set against a light gray background color. The species is related to the True Tulip, Fasciolaria tulipa (Linnaeus, 1758). This latter is a much larger species, reaching about 8 inches, and having a shell with reddish-brown background color with more numerous and more tightly set spiral lines. Banded Tulips are predators, feeding on smaller mollusks.
The photo on the right depicts a cluster of egg capsules laid by a Banded Tulip in the Museum live tank; the Banded Tulip egg capsules look like smaller versions of those of the True Tulip, minus the frilled edges of typical of the capsules laid by this latter species. Photos by José H. Leal.