Charonia tritonis

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Charonia tritonis
A shell of C. tritonis with its operculum in place in the aperture
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
(unranked): clade Caenogastropoda
clade Hypsogastropoda
clade Littorinimorpha
Superfamily: Tonnoidea
Family: Ranellidae
Subfamily: Cymatiinae
Genus: Charonia
Species: C. tritonis
Trinomial name
Charonia tritonis
(Linnaeus, 1758)

Charonia tritonis, common name the Triton's trumpet or the giant triton, is a species of very large sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusc in the family Ranellidae, the tritons. Reaching up to two feet (or 60 cm) in shell length this is one of the biggest mollusks in the coral reef.[1]


This species is found throughout the Indo-Pacific Oceans, Red Sea included.[2]

Two views of a shell of Charonia tritonis

Human use[edit]

The shell is well known as a decorative object, and is sometimes modified for use as a trumpet (such as the Japanese horagai).

C. tritonis is one of the few animals to feed on the crown-of-thorns starfish, Acanthaster planci. Occasional plagues of this large and destructive starfish have killed extensive areas of coral on the Great Barrier Reef of Australia and the western Pacific reefs. The triton has been described as tearing the starfish to pieces with its file-like radula.[3]

Much debate has occurred on whether plagues of crown-of-thorns starfish are natural or are caused by overfishing of the few organisms that can eat this starfish, including C. tritonis. In 1994, Australia proposed that C. tritonis should be put on the CITES list, thereby attempting to protect the species.[4] Because of a lack of trade data concerning this seashell, the Berne Criteria from CITES were not met, and the proposal was consequently withdrawn. While this species may be protected in Australia and other countries (such as India),[5] it can be legally traded and is found for sale in many shell shops around the world and on the Internet.


  1. ^ "Descriptions and articles about the Triton's Trumpet (Charonia tritonis) - Encyclopedia of Life". 2011-02-16. Retrieved 2014-12-07. 
  2. ^ "Descriptions and articles about the Triton's Trumpet (Charonia tritonis) - Encyclopedia of Life". 2011-02-16. Retrieved 2014-03-19. 
  3. ^ Powell, G (1979). "Stars for kings". Sea Frontiers 25 (5): 282–285. 
  4. ^ Proposal: Inclusion of the giant triton Charonia tritonis on Appendix II, CITES.
  5. ^ India Ministry of Environment and Forests Notification S.O. 665(E). New Delhi, 11 July 2001.]

External links[edit]

Media related to Charonia tritonis at Wikimedia Commons