Conch are fast-growing marine snails that feed on algae. The name is generally applied to several types of large sea snails, but true conchs belong to the family Strombidae, genus Strombus. The larger types of Conch found in the Carribean, such as the Queen Conch, grow from tiny larvae into adult snails weighing about 4.5 pounds in 4 years. As the Conch matures, the body of the snail pushes on the growing shell and makes the opening flare out. This allows the mature snail to move along the lagoon floor with the shell opening flat against the bottom. Conch is the second most popular type of edible snail after the Escargot. British loyalists returning to Key West from the Bahamas after the revolutionary war years came with the nickname “Conchs” in reference to the prevalence of Conch in the Bahamian diet. The name sticks for Key West natives to this day.
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