Say, “Ah!” I that a foot, a toxic tongue or tonight’s dinner?

As the warm summer breezes chase away the snowbirds and flatten out the water, the locals use the down time to explore their backyards. On a recent dive trip aboard his 22’ Grady White, former Navy Diver and Marathon restaurateur John Mirabella pulled a giant Horse Conch from the ocean.

Having been called an “amazing beast,” the Horse Crab will devour a protected Queen Conch. Mirabella saved this one and set her back in the sea.

“She was eating a Queen Conch in about 25’ of water,” Mirabella say. “That’s what these things eat – other gastropods.”

According to celebrated Marine Biologist and Captain Byron Goss, the Horse Conch latches onto other sea creatures and uses a rasping tongue to drill into the animal’s body. The Rollins College graduate and Big Time Bait and Tackle owner said the conch will then inject acidic digestive juices (similar to a spider) to kill their victim before devouring the prey.

Mirabella said the Pleuroploca gigantean is derived from the Latin root meaning: “stomach foot” and they are prized for their edible meat and attractive shell.

“I’m just going to cut her up and eat her shashimi,” said Mirabella. “There is no need to cook it. I might make some ceviche!”

“You are not supposed to eat that,” Goss told the Weekly. “That is what we were taught in biology. They’re carnivorous and that red meat is full of toxins.”

When Mirabella heard of Goss’s warnings, he said, “Since when is he a culinary expert? Let him sell the live shrimp. I sell shrimp steamed in beer.”

Goss then referred to his catch phrase. “Google it, (expletive deleted).”

To find out if and when this Keys delicacy is being served, or if you just want to check out this magnificent gastropod which had other restauranteurs down in the 100 block of Duval googling more information about the Horse Conch during their own dinner parties, (just as Goss has instructed), call Castaways and find out! (305) 743-6247

Say, “Ah!” I that a foot, a toxic tongue or tonight’s dinner?

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