Antillean Miter Shell
Caracolito
(Mitra swainsonii)

Antillean Miter Shell, Mitra swainsonii: The Antillean Miter Shell is an ivory white shell profusely marked with spiral rows of brown spots and axial streaks of purplish brown.

The species is somewhat variable but the one found in the greater Los Cabos area of Mexico has a high spire and a white aperture.

They reach a maximum length of 5.9 cm (2.3 inches) and are found intertidally and offshore from depths of 15 feet to 270 feet.

They are found from Magdalena Bay south along the west coast of Baja, throughout the Sea of Cortez and south along the coast of the mainland to Guatemala.

They are sold at a modest level via an internet trade.

The Antillean Miter Shell is a member of the Mitridae Family which are known as the Miter Shells. They comprise a diverse group of two large families with more than 500 species. Most live in warm shallow seas and use their long retractable snout to feed on clams and marine worms. The shells are usually elongated in form featuring vibrant color patters. Miters hide under rocks or coral during the day and burrow in sand during the night to feed. They are named because of their resemblance to the peaked caps worn by popes, bishops and other ecclesiastics.

Antillean Miter Shell picture

Antillean Miter Shell picture

Antillean Miter Shell, Mitra swainsonii: Collected by the commercial fishermen of the greater Los Cabos area of Baja California Sur, Mexico, in July 2011. Size 9.4 cm (3.7 inches) x 2.1 cm (0.8 inches). Description and photos courtesy of John Snow.