triton trumpet

Many people have seen the beautiful spiral triton trumpet shell. Unfortunately, most people can see these brown and white shells only for sale in a market. Far fewer people have seen this rare creature in its natural habitat of the coral reefs. At night, this carnivore snail can be found trudging through the reef, hunting for a meal. The triton trumpet uses its sense of smell to find prey.

triton trumpet
Scientific name: Charonia tritonis
Size: up to 20 inches long
Habitat: coral reefs along tropical coasts
Diet: sea stars (starfish)
Characteristics: brown and white spotted shell

Image credits: courtesy of National Marine Fisheries Service, Andrew Bruckner.