The orange-yellow color and dark spots that make these snails easy to see comes from their retractable mantles when wrapped around their shells. These small sea snails make their home in the western Atlantic Ocean preying on soft corals like sea fans and whip corals. They live nearly their entire existence attached to these corals and are able to ingest the coral's chemical defenses and absorb them into their bodies for their own protection. Females attach their eggs to their coral prey and the larvae hatch in just 10 days. After a short planktonic stage, they attach themselves to a soft coral of their own to live out their days. Corals are able to regrow polyps the flaming tongue scrapes away with its radula and thrive on, keeping both themselves and the flamingo tongue alive.
Though this species was once very common, it is currently in decline in areas heavily trafficked by snorkelers and divers. We photographed this flamingo tongue while freediving between Lighthouse and Moon Hole in Utila, Honduras.