Charonia tritonis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Triton’s trumpet
A live Charonia tritonis
A shell of C. tritonis with its operculum in place in the aperture
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
Subclass: Caenogastropoda
Order: Littorinimorpha
Family: Charoniidae
Genus: Charonia
C. tritonis
Binomial name
Charonia tritonis

Charonia tritonis, common name the Triton's trumpet, the giant triton or [1] is a species of very large sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusc in the family Charoniidae, the tritons.[2] Reaching up to two feet (or 60 cm) in shell length this is one of the biggest mollusks in the coral reef.[3]


This species is found throughout the Indo-Pacific Oceans, Red Sea included.[3]


Two views of a shell of Charonia tritonis
An artificial or fake left-handed triton conch

Feeding habits[edit]

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.[4]

Human use[edit]

Charonia tritonis on a 2002 Indonesia postage stamp.

The shell is well known as a decorative object, and is sometimes modified for use as a trumpet (such as the Japanese horagai, the Maldivian sangu, the Hawaiian pū (hoʻokani)[1] or the Māori pūtātara).

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.[5] 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of trade data concerning this seashell, the Berne Criteria from CITES were not met, and the proposal was consequently withdrawn.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),[6] it can be legally traded and is found for sale in many shell shops around the world and on the internet.


  1. ^ a b Mary Kawena Pukui and Samuel Hoyt Elbert (2003). "lookup of ". in Hawaiian Dictionary. Ulukau, the Hawaiian Electronic Library, University of Hawaii Press.
  2. ^ Charonia tritonis (Linnaeus, 1758). Retrieved through: World Register of Marine Species on 4 December 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Descriptions and articles about the Triton's Trumpet (Charonia tritonis) - Encyclopedia of Life". 2011-02-16. Retrieved 2014-12-07.
  4. ^ Powell, G (1979). "Stars for kings". Sea Frontiers. 25 (5): 282–285.
  5. ^ Proposal: Inclusion of the giant triton Charonia tritonis on Appendix II, CITES.
  6. ^ India Ministry of Environment and Forests Notification S.O. 665(E) Archived 2014-01-04 at the Wayback Machine. New Delhi, 11 July 2001.]


External links[edit]