• José H. Leal

An Eye-catching Conch

The large gastropods from the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico traditionally played major roles in Meso American and Mexican cultures. This shell of a Queen Conch, Aliger gigas, is a replica of similarly decorated shells from ancient cultural areas around Mexico City. The shell is covered with a mosaic of obsidian, lapis-lazuli, and other stones, and its apex, or shell tip, has been sawed off, so the shell could be used as a "trumpet" or "horn". Photographed in Teotihuacan, Mexico, in 2014.