A fascinating species, looking more like a limpet or abalone than a murex. Despite the superficial resemblance, C. concholepas is not a true abalone nor limpet, but a member of the family Muricidae. This species is native to the coasts of Chile and Peru, where it is called loco (Chilean Spanish a loanword from Mapuche or pata de burro and chanque (Peruvian Spanish). Due to overfishing, the harvesting of this species in Chile has been limited by law since 1989. The blue blood of this species contains hemocyanin, which is being investigated as a treatment for bladder and prostate cancer. The shells of this species are used as ashtrays in Chile. C. concholepas is dioecious, which means the populations are divided between male and females, though with no external evidence of sexual dimorphism. The fertilisation in this species occurs internally. In central Chile, females lay egg capsules on low intertidal and shallow subtidal rocky surfaces during southern autumn months. After around one month of development inside the capsules, small planktotrophic veliger larvae (260 µm) are released. The larvae spend the following three months in the water column and once they become competent, they dwell at the sea surface until they settle on rocky intertidal and shallow subtidal habitats down to 30 m. The normal size at which the snail reaches sexual maturity is between 5.4 and 6.7 cm; it takes about four years to reach this size. On the Chilean coast, C. concholepas is one of the most important edible mollusc species and is a major product of the aquacultural industry. In Chilean cuisine, the meat of the foot of these snails is cooked and eaten with mayonnaise or as a chupe de locos soup in an earthenware bowl. The chupe de locos typically contains about six snails’ feet, 100 grams of a fatty cheese, such as Chanco cheese, two eggs, four spoons of grated bread, salt, and paprika.
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