Cypraea moneta, commonly known as the money cowry, is a species of small sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Cypraeidae, the cowries.
This is a very common species which is found in Indo-Pacific
This cowry lives in intertidal rocky areas. It can be found on and under rocks in shallow water and on exposed reefs at low tide. Like all cowries, it feeds on algae
and marine vegetation growing on loose rocks and pieces of dead coral
The shell is small (20 to 40 mm
long). It is white to straw-colored, and sometimes has a gold-colored ring around the dorsal area
similar to the gold ring found on the shell of Cypraea annulus
(gold ringed cowry).
Shells of this cowry were commonly used as a medium of exchange
in many tropical areas of Africa
and the Pacific
islands until the late 19th century.
The shell continues to be popular today in jewelry and for decoration of such items as baskets and wall hangings.