The giant triton (Charonia tritonis) is a beautiful shell and a well known predator of the crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci). In many parts of the third world, it is still being collected in large numbers and sold to tourists as ornaments. As you admire the beautiful shell, spare a thought for the hungry mollusk that died. And don’t forget, they live on starfish. Many species of starfish are known to outbreak in different parts of the world. Prior to human collection, the giant triton might have controlled starfish numbers not by eating the many, but by preventing the aggregation that precedes the outbreak. At present, little is known of any aspect of the triton’s ecology despite it’s obvious importance in controlling starfish numbers.

  1. My first picture of a crown-of-thorns starfish
  2. Dr Robert Endean (right) and Dr Peter James (left)
  3. Increased sub-tidal abundance of blue linckia
  4. Most species of starfish are rare
  5. The preferred prey
  6. Heron Reef (23° 27′ S, 151° 57′ E)
  7. An escape response by the starfish
  8. Larval settlement in the giant triton
  9. The presence of larval cloning
  10. Many eggs are never fertilised
  11. The fertilization reaction
  12. Triton prey preference
  13. CITES Listing Summary PDF

 

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