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Playing Matchmaker for Keys’ Queen Conch

In the warm, shallow waters of Florida and the Caribbean, the queen conch, a large marine snail, engages in a slow but methodical mating ritual each spring and summer. But lately, the queen conchs in Florida Keys face challenges in finding mates and reproducing, putting their future at risk. Decades of overfishing and displacement by hurricanes have significantly reduced their population, making it difficult for them to match. To make matters worse, female conchs in nearshore waters struggle to develop sexually, further endangering the species.

To help the queen conchs, scientists are planning a unique intervention. Thanks to funding from the Foundation, FWC issued a survey to local Keys’ residents asking them to report queen conch sightings. FWC will use this information to relocate queen conchs from the isolated, shallow waters to healthier populations farther offshore. This relocation aims to increase the chances of the conchs finding mates and successfully reproducing.

Check out more coverage on this project in Garden & Gun, Vox, and CBC.

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