The giant triton is a sea snail, with a large, spindle-shaped shell that is usually white and yellow/brown in colour. These snails can reach up to around 2ft, making them one of the largest mollusc species in the world. They are famously known for being able to eat the venomous Crown-of-Thorns Starfish.
A giant job
Crown-of-thorn starfish are a great threat to coral reefs, specifically the Great Barrier Reef. Australian Institute of Marine Science has shown that, over the last 30 years, coral cover in surveyed areas of the Reef has declined by 50%, half due to crown-of-thorn starfish. In fact, researchers estimated that, without these predator starfish devouring coral, there would have been a net increase in average coral cover.
Being one of the few successful predators of these starfish, the Giant Tritons are now being bred through a federal government-funded project. This way, they can try to reduce the crown-of-starfish population naturally and restore the reef.
These large sea snails are known to sense and give chase to their prey, consisting of starfish and other molluscs. Though starfish can detect and run from incoming prey, tritons are faster. Once the triton has grabbed its prey with its muscular foot, it uses its serrated radula to tear through the skin and release paralysing saliva. From then, the triton feeds slowly. The triton will swallow it whole with smaller prey, spitting out unwanted parts later.