Queen conch have internal fertilization, after which the female spawns thousands of eggs in a long tubular egg mass. Spawning tends to occur during the summer; the large egg masses may take up to 36 hours to produce and can hold between 310,000 and 750,000 eggs. These egg masses are covered with sand to provide camouflage and the larvae emerge after around 5 days. A single female will spawn between 6 and 8 times during one season. Larvae, known as veligers, float in the open ocean, feeding on phytoplankton and may drift a considerable distance from the site where they emerged, although evidence for this is limited. Between 18 and 40 days later (depending on conditions) the larvae settle into the sand and metamorphose into the adult form. Adult queen conch have been observed to migrate to deeper waters as they increase in size, and seasonal migrations during the summer months, in order to group together and spawn, have also been recorded (5).
Conch move by an unusual ‘hopping’ motion whereby the foot is thrust against the bottom, causing the shell to rise and then be thrown forward. Queen conch are most active during the night and graze on algae and detritus using their extendable proboscis (5).