A woman was caught in Key West with five queen conchs with live animals still inside on May 30, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife conservation.
FWC said it was reported to officers the woman was taking the shells and putting them under a towel. Officers said when they saw her they found five queen conchs with live animals inside.
“Remember, admire their beauty but ‘you conch touch this,” FWC posted on Facebook.
Daniela Arroyo Mondragon, 24, Statham, Georgia, pleaded not guilty to five misdemeanor charges of harvesting a queen conch on Wednesday, Key West court records show.
She has a pretrial hearing conference set for 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 4., online records show.
A queen conch is a sea snail that lives in seagrass beds in the Caribbean and western Atlantic Ocean waters, according to the FWC. Wildlife officials said they can usually be found in the Florida Keys. The queen conch is known for its pink-lipped shell.
The queen conch is protected species, according to FWC. The shells may not be harvested or sold in the state, according to officers.
The FWC posted a list of rules for shell collecting at this link.