Here's a special cowrie shell from our collection. The shell pictured at right is an Arabian Cowrie (Cypraea arabica). Jerry found this one in the Red Sea many years ago, and it is the only one we've ever seen, except in pictures.
I had to tell about this one today, since I'm writing this on Easter. As it happened, we had gone on a dive trip to the Red Sea over the Spring holidays one year, and Jerry found this shell on Easter Sunday. We always joked that the Easter Bunny must have put this egg-shaped cowrie shell there for him to find that morning.
As cowrie shells go, this is a fairly large species. The Arabian Cowrie shell pictured here is 6.5 cm (about 2.5 in) long.
The first photo shows a dorsal view of the shell. Below are two more views of the same shell, so you can see its interesting markings. First is a side view:
And here is what the base of the shell looks like:
Here is a link to a photo of a live Arabian Cowrie on Wikipedia. You can see the pale colored mantle of the snail that manufactures the shell and lives inside. There was no snail inside the Arabian Cowrie shell that Jerry found.