The giant or trumpet triton is one of the largest snails, reaching a length of 50cm. Several island cultures use the shells as ceremonial trumpets. This marine species is not only remarkable for its beautiful shell (celebrated since the Renaissance in art) but also its role in helping to control the Crown of Thorns Starfish (Acanthaster planci). Giant tritons are known to feed on such starfish, as they do on other species (e.g. the blue star – Linckia laevigata, the cushion star Culcita novaeguinea), although their rate of consumption is relatively low. Some have argued that the excessive collecting of giant tritons may have caused or contributed to the Crown of Thorns starfish plagues which can devastate coral reefs including our own Great Barrier Reef. The giant triton is now fully protected in Queensland waters.
This species occurs throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific.
Giant Triton (Charonia tritonis), shell of the Giant Triton, specimen from the Queensland Museum Collection.
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