The Latin name Xenophora means “bearer of foreigners” and it was assigned by a Russian scientist in 1807 to a strange shell that attached stones, bits of coral, and dead shells to its outer surface.
How does the carrier shell hunt, hold and glue other shells and bits of coral to themselves? The snail selects the object that it wants with its waving proboscis and then cleans it as well as the site of attachment. It then rotates the object and fits it on to itself. This may take up to 1 ½ hours. The piece is then held in place with the animal’s foot, snout, and tentacle bases and glued into place. The Xenophora may then lay motionless for up to 10 hours, only rocking in place now and then in order to check on the strength of it new attachment. The added bodies may give the shell extra strength and prevent it from sinking in the soft mud.